August 31, 2018
By Elise Baker
Whether you are an activist making an argument for climate policy or a prospective employee taking interviews in the green sector, persuading an audience requires nuance and skill. But how do you develop a powerful voice that will bridge the divide or get your foot in the door?
On August 14, Pamela Berns, leadership coach and global communications consultant, offered expert advice at the GreenHomeNYC Green Careers meetup, which was hosted at the GROHELIVE! Center and catered by Vegan Outreach.
Berns opened with a slide showing pictures of confident speakers. “Communication looks fun,” she said. “Everybody does it, no matter how old or young you are. Looks easy. But is it?”
Berns suggested that persuading listeners to change their point of view is actually a complex task. Three elements can make it difficult to accomplish: internal noise, frame of reference, and nonverbal codes.
Berns began with internal noise, which is similar to static on a telephone line. Rarely do people engage in pure listening, she said, and internal noise causes distractions. One audience member might remember that he forgot to add milk to the grocery list. Another might be so entrenched in her point of view that she can’t hear what the speaker is actually saying.