(2 minute read)

When you think of some of the world’s greatest orators – Martin Luther King Jr, Sir Winston Churchill, Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, John C Maxwell – they have certain traits in common. Each demonstrated the ability to influence, persuade and/or move their audience. They also communicated emotions which has made it difficult to forget their messages.

In addition to their selection of phrase, or their articulation of the message they were striving to convey, each spoke with a level of conviction that resonated with their broad and diverse audiences.

Defined as ‘a firmly held belief or opinion’, it is the level of conviction, passion and commitment to a cause which can truly shift an audience – whether that be a prospective customer or a public gathering at a political rally.

Speaking with conviction is an invaluable talent. During times of uncertainty, we are reassured by someone who convinces us that all will be ok.

The level of self-belief and assuredness that allows someone to speak with conviction can create an atmosphere of certainty, leading to feelings of security and safety for those in attendance.

Tips to build conviction in any situation

  • Passion – Speak from the heart. The audience should sense your genuine belief in the topic or theme.
  • Enthusiasm – This can be contagious. In addition to your belief, your desire to share this information should be visible – or audible – to all.
  • Volume Control – More than just a forceful voice. Realise the influence of the ideal volume to convey your message with consideration of the audience and the environment.
  • Choose the right tonality – You have a broad range available. The tone you adopt should reflect the message and impact you wish to convey. (Commanding, conciliatory, sympathetic, reassuring, etc.)

To watch and hear the impact of these vocal skills at work, check out this witty and worthwhile presentation by poet, Taylor Mali Def Poetry Jam – Like ya’ know’.

While Mali’s poem was originally geared for a young audience, it’s not just for young people. It’s for all of us. When we make that presentation, we need to speak with conviction. Because, if we don’t have confidence in our own words, why should our audiences have confidence in us? If we don’t believe in the message that we are conveying, how can we hope to move others to action?


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