What Really Matters in Persuading Folks?

If you want to save time and get to the next thing on your to-do-list, the answer is your Voice.

How you use your voice-box makes folks listen intently or go blind to your pitch. This is not in an isolated area of your life; it covers sales (persuading), convincing your Significant-Other of anything in your relationship, and getting out the vote.

Who Says So

Jose Benki, lead researcher at the University of Michigan 5.16.2011. I believe him because his team reviewed 1,380 presentations by 100 male and female interviewers. It came down to three (3) criteria whether folks said yes or blew-you-off: speech-rates (fast or slow), fluency (phasing), and pitch (high or low voice).

The scientists expected to find that folks who are animated on the phone or in-person, lively, using variation in their voice pitch, would be the winners. Not so. They sound artificial, phony, like TV commercials. Listeners hated them.

Men with high-pitched voices were not believed; their deep-voiced colleagues won all the prizes
for credibility. Get this, because it applies to all of us: speaking fast or talking too slow makes the listener question your brain-power or if you are a con-man.

What’s the right speech-pace? Answer: 3.5 words per second. That makes people comfortable, and they give you the benefit of the doubt and agree with you. No, you are not going to count the words falling out of your mouth, but you will keep track of too fast and too slow.


Ordinary folks pause (shut-up or slow-down) 4-5 times a minute. It is what we are used to, and expect to hear. Frequent short pauses when you try to persuade, influence or convince, brings home the bacon. Men or women who are fluent with perfect speech are just not trusted.

Too many pauses in a conversation and you sound freaky; too few stops make you sound too scripted and phony-baloney. Test yourself and you’ll discover 4-5 stops per minute get
your listeners undivided attention. But what does Dr. Benki know, he’s just the 800 pound gorilla
in the psychology of language.

Is This Important

Many people are always learning, and never acting. Changing your Attitude is controlling your life because changing your mind requires you to change your behaviors (acting).

Strengthen your desire and you are motivated to change your actions. Any diet will help you lose 20-pounds; but which diet program motivates you to start and continue? Success is taking responsibility for your reaching your goals. The buck stops here - in your head.
Tiger Mother Effect

Short and sweet, it aint bias or prejudice when it is a researched fact. Asians students get higher grades and win more scholarships than their fellow students. How come? Answer: Asian students study twice as many hours weekly as their counterparts. It accounts for everything.

My Mother Made Me Do It

They call them Tiger Mothers, and they lay down the rules for their children. They don’t want to be loved, but respected. Asian kids in the U.S. are disciplined for academic success, not for having fun. They are taught they must bring home “A” grades, and less is a sin.

Their job is academic success and music lessons, and not sports, video-games or sleep-overs. When Western kids are not reading over the entire summer, Asian children are engaged in daily lessons. Guess which group wins the prizes in college and graduate school?

Hard Numbers

Non-Asians spend 5.5 hours a week on homework and studying, while Asian kids learn an average of 13 hours weekly. Does it really matter? They produce the grades and grab the scholarships, and are prepared for college and graduate school.

What Else

They are better prepared for successful careers, where they win promotions and raises way out of proportion to their own numbers and the competition.

Shanghai, China, Japan, and Korea produce the best learners on the planet. The only non-Asian country in the winner’s circle is Finland.

Now What

We need American Tiger Mothers who with fathers, will lay down the rules for academic success. Will the U.S. be a second-rate power in the next twenty-five years because the next generation is engaged in cheering their football team or playing video-games five-hours daily?

Late Starters

Americans have always used the excuse they enjoyed childhood and their school years, and caught up later to be world class scientists and academics. Bull.

Americans are specialists in being entrepreneurs, not scholars. The best thinking in this area is by Scott Adams, the writer of Dilbert cartoons. He called us “B” students, and recommends Americans be trained for business, and not take physics, math, and Shakespeare.

Americans Should Specialize
Here is Adams’ list of goals for American “B” students:

1. Combine Skills (know how to fill multiple roles).

2. Fail-Forward, use all your failures, and if we are take risks, we are failing 90% of the time, to gain new skills that will be useful in later life.

3. Find The Action. Move to where the action is, and you will discover your highest level of success.

4. Attract Luck. Why? Luck finds the doers.

5. Conquer Fear. Replace fear with enthusiasm. Get training in public speaking.

6. Write Simply. The clearer you can express your ideas, they greater your impact on others.

7. Learn Persuasion. It applies to sales, marketing, negotiating, and statistics.

Google up: How to Get a Real Education at College. It was the lead article in the Wall Street Journal weekend edition on April 9, 2011. It contains hot-stuff from a wise man.

See ya,

Copyright © 2011, H. Bernard Wechsler

P.S. If you would like a great report on How to Speed Read, contact us for a free, no strings attached, copy. It could change your academic or entrepreneurial life. Find us.

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by
Barron's. Business partner of Evelyn Wood, graduating
2-million, including the White House staffs of four U.S.
Presidents: Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Carter.