The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person’s assessment of your intelligence, competence and authenticity. Just look at today’s political landscape as an example. President Donald Trump has a brash, tell-it-like-it is style of communicating that is highly controversial but resonates with many supporters. In contrast, former President Barack Obama is often hailed as one of our nation’s greatest orators for his poise and eloquence although detractors often found fault with the message.

In a recent article, Thrive Global staff writer, Stephanie Fairyington turned to communication expert Geoffrey Tumlin to explain how certain speakers are poised with certain skills to make them appear more powerful and persuasive. Tumlin, who is the author of Stop Talking, Start Communicating, puts Oprah Winfrey and Madeleine Albright in the same communicator category. “Oprah,” he says, “is a great example of connection plus preparation and someone who lets you really see who she is.”

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Tumlin’s three musts for powerful and persuasive communication, highlighted in Fairyington’s recent article.

1. Be Still. Learning to harness uncontrolled energy and erratic movements while talking, whether in a meeting at work or on stage in an auditorium, will give the impression that you are calm and in command. “There’s a lot of good research that suggests that we project influence and status on people when they aren’t fidgeting around a lot when they are talking to people,” Tumlin says. According to Tumlin, Obama is a master communicator because he has the skill of stillness. He projects a sense of calm. Tumlin says that there is something soothing and powerful about someone who can project a sense of calmness and composure.

2. Steady Your Emotions and Be Prepared. It doesn’t matter if you’re preparing for a one-on-one meeting or presenting a TED Talk, it helps to do your homework before opening your mouth. When there’s an intense underlying emotion beneath the desire to communicate something, we tend to hyper-express a messy tangle of words that fail to capture what we’re really trying to say. Instead, take time to find your center, perhaps with a breathing exercise or five minutes of meditation, and prepare.

As Tumlin points out, we tend to spend a great deal of time preparing for public speaking engagements out of fear of looking unprepared. However, our most critical dialog often comes in the form of one-to-one conversation, for which we often don’t practice or prepare. When it’s a serious conversation that involves family or friends, we usually don’t prepare because we don’t have the same fear of these conversations as we do with public speaking. However, as Tumlin points out, those are often where the most important dialog happens. So, prepare for it. Period.”

3. Be Yourself. Tumlin says that the goal of interpersonal communication is to be yourself, and when you appear authentic, then you drive influence. Again, he points to Obama and Oprah Winfrey has examples of highly influential people who come across as very authentic. And he points out that authenticity can bring you unexpectedly high returns.

Whether you have a presentation or an important one-on-one conversation, use these skills to drive influence.

Source: Stephanie Fairyington is a staff writer at Thrive Global. A New York-based journalist, her work has appeared in The New York Times , The Atlantic (online), The New Republic (online), The Boston Globe and several other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her spouse Sabrina and daughter Marty.