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The Road to Delivering a Persuasive Presentation

As we frequently point out, the success of your presentation is measured through the impact it makes on the audience. If you can move them to action and persuade them to consider new ideas, then you’ll know that you’ve done your job right. Whether you’re pitching to investors, selling a product, or sharing your thoughts as an expert in a conference, the main goal is to convince and connect with the audience. As the presenter, you need to show them that your viewpoint is valid and worth their interest. Delivering a persuasive presentation is the quickest route toward this outcome.

So what does it take to deliver a persuasive presentation? What do you need to do to enthrall and engage an audience? Here are 3 essential things you’ll need to keep in mind:

Start with a powerful hook

A persuasive presentation should always start with something that will capture the attention of your audience. According to some experts, presenters only have 60 seconds to make a positive impression on stage. If you can’t begin to engage the audience within that time, you might lose their attention quickly. That’s why it’s important to start with a hook. Whether or not you have longer than a few seconds, it’s important to begin with something that will make people sit up with curiosity.

The best way to do that is by creating a sense of familiarity and relatability. Try to approach your presentation from the point of view of the audience. Show them that your presentation is more than just a collection of facts and data. Let them see that your presentation is actually relevant to their experience.

This is where storytelling is particularly effective. A story is a great way to appeal to emotions. You can share something from your own experience or share a scenario that emphasizes the perspective of the audience. This is especially crucial if you’re delivering a sales pitch. Try to describe a vivid story that situates your audience as the protagonist, highlighting problems that you can solve.

Give your audience something to look forward to

At the heart of it, a persuasive presentation is all about being able to sell an idea. To do that, think about your own experience as a consumer. Why do you choose certain brands over others? Why are you compelled to try out new products? For both scenarios, it’s because you’re offered something you want or need. In other words, products make certain promises that interest you.

The same should be said about your presentations. In order to “sell” your own ideas, you have to make a promise that the audience can look forward to. Consider the 2007 Apple Keynote where Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone. There, he repeatedly mentioned that their new product was going to “reinvent the phone“. Looking forward to this promise, 700,000 units were bought by consumers within the first weekend of its release.

While it’s important to make powerful statements, you should also keep them grounded with supporting facts and data. In his keynote, Steve Jobs provided quick demos, stats, and visuals to strengthen his message. The only promises you should be making are the ones you are sure you can keep. Offer the audience evidence to bolster the validity of your message. Aside from research data, you can also share some testimonials or demonstrations. Let them determine that your presentation is both powerful and reliable.

End with a call to action

When you reach the end of your presentation, it’s not enough to say thank you and quietly ask for questions. First, you’ll need to reiterate your main points, making sure that the main takeaway is clear for the audience to see. Next, you’ll need to urge them to take positive action.

Tailor a Call to Action statement that’s specific to the outcome you’re aiming for. After you’ve shared your ideas, it’s time to give the audience a particular goal or objective they can act on. What do you want to happen as a result of your presentation? Your answer to this question should be echoed to the audience in a strong and straightforward voice.

As we’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post, you need to be brief and straight to the point. Avoid using phrases that sound like you’re beating around the bush. Statements such as “if it interests you, maybe you can consider…” make it sound like you’re hedging. You need to show confidence in your presentation. If you’re confident about your presentation, the audience will surely feel the same way.
There are no shortcuts to a successful presentation, but the quickest route is through the art of persuasion. By delivering a persuasive presentation, you  can move the audience to consider and affirm new ideas. Follow these 3 tips to drive your audience into action and achieve the outcome that you’re hoping for.


Featured Image: Corey Leopold via Flickr

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