Shirley's Articles / Present Yourself Powerfully

3 Ways To Engage Others With Your Words

Virtually all presentations and conversations require us to explain. We may need to describe a process, justify an action or cost, or simply share an idea.

Do you ever feel challenged getting others to understand or care about something they haven’t experienced? These are the times we need to engage our listeners the most. The difference between being dull and dynamic can be as simple as a few words.

Here are 3 simple ways to help make your message impact others.

1. Take Them There

The easiest shortcut to understanding is through two simple words: “for example”. Examples are trusted. They’re like case studies. They’re specific. If you’re making a general point, and you see their eyes glaze over, simply stop and say:

“Let me give you an example of what this means.”

Even if you haven’t thought of one, say it. An example will surely come to mind. Make it as specific and visual as possible:

“If you leave any section of the purchase order blank, Fred has to email you back to remind you. This means waiting a day to send your form to the supplier. This delays the supplier by 24 hours. This, in turn, delays the plumber, the electrician and the designer.”

2. Say It Again

It sounds crazy, but sometimes when you don’t know how else to say it, you have a great opportunity to drive home the point with repetition.

The trick is to repeat what you just said as though these words are key and simply the best words. Take your time before you repeat them, and keep it simple:

“Everyone was completely sold on the concept. The idea is fantastic. … Really fantastic.”

“We can complete it and get it to her by the end of the week. … She’ll have it this Friday.”

3. Short Sentences

When we’re anxious trying to explain something, our nervous energy causes an adrenalin rush. This often results in long-winded sentences, which can make our listener tune out. So, try adding punchy short ones instead:

“We need a plan. A well-thought-out system. Not just a collective of ideas all jumbled together without thinking of how to execute them together. We need a fool-proof system. One that works for everyone.”

If you know you will need to explain something to someone today, plan first how you might add impact with these 3 simple but powerful tips. I guarantee they will help you engage your listener and make your message more effective.

Article written by Marianna Pascal

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Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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