Your first job is to avoid being unpersuasive. A major mistake is to let a passionate commitment to a particular point of view create an image of stridency. Do emotional appeals work? Sure, but the safer and more responsible approach is to combine reasonable tone with a logical position.
How is that done? There are several ways:
- Acknowledge weak points. Credibility drops when advocates appear to argue that their side has no flaws.
- Avoid overstatement. Puffing can be easily spotted and its use raises a question of how many other assertions lack substance.
- Speak with one voice. All team members should be on script.
- Use visual aids in a professional manner. Sloppy slides will imply sloppy analysis.
- Don't be too slick. To paraphrase Spencer Tracy, it's okay to act but don't ever let them catch you doing it.