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Winning Your Audience Over: The Keys to an Influencing Pitch

One of the most difficult things a presenter does is instill certain beliefs or convince the audience that their product or service is the best choice.

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Apart from this, whether you hire PowerPoint presentation design services or create it yourself, you have to make sure that whatever shows up on the screen coincides with what you’re saying. Flow is important, as it contributes to how easy it will be to understand your pitch.

Winning the audience over may not be an easy feat, but it is, however, doable. Here are factors that make an influencing pitch:

Give & Take: Reciprocity

When you are pitching a fresh idea to an investor, provide a sample because not only would this make your presentation more memorable, but it will also help them understand your pitch better. In a way, it instills a sense of indebtedness, increasing their chances of complying to your request.

Reciprocity is useful in the world of sales, as this helps establish trust between you and your prospects.

What the Public Says: Social Proof

What makes you decide whether to watch a movie or not? Or if you should try the new restaurant in town? Usually, people take to Google and search for reviews before they try something new.

Most of the time, these influence decision-making and this is proof you should use social media to win your audience over.

Testimonials from previous clients give you an edge, as these showcase unique experiences provided by your product. In a way, these help your clients make informed decisions.

The 3 Cs: Commitment, Consistency & Credibility

The hardest part during a sales pitch is getting your audience to say yes. Gaining their approval contributes to the success or failure of your presentation, which is where learning the art of persuasion comes in handy.

Once you get your audience to comply with small requests, it will be easier for you to make larger requests, as they will be more likely to be receptive of these. Given that these are similar in nature to the original inquiry.

This was proven in a study conducted in the 1980s, where the “foot-in-the-door” technique was used. Martin Sherman called residents in Indiana and inquired about hypothetically volunteering and spending three hours collecting for the American Cancer Society. His associates called the same people three days later and actually requested help for the ACS. Thirty-one percent of those who responded to the earlier request agreed to help and this number is much higher than the 4% of people who volunteered when approached directly.

Your confidence and the trustworthiness of the content you are presenting invoke authority, reflecting your expertise on the subject, hence, making you credible. This convinces the audience that you are the right person to discuss a certain topic.

Moving forward, your custom PowerPoint presentation should coincide with your speech and vice versa. Not only do these factors apply to your speech, but these should also resonate with your visual aid, that way, your audience will be able to follow the discussion with their eyes and ears.

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References:

Swanson, Elizabeth; Sherman, Martin & Sherman, Nancy. “Anxiety and the Foot-in-the-Door Technique.” The Journal of Social Psychology. June 30, 2010. doi.org/10.1080/00224545.1982.9922806

McLeod, Saul. “The Psychology of Compliance.” SimplyPsychology. 2014. www.simplypsychology.org/compliance.html

 

3 Tips for Handling Unexpected Events During Presentations

In spite of preparing for your presentation, unexpected events can still break your concentration. According to the often-quoted Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

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Some presenters panic when something wrong happens, making them lose their audience. If these mistakes are left unaddressed, your discussion can turn into a complete disaster.

Avoid tuning out the crowd and maintain your professional image with these three tips:

Stay Calm

Mistakes are bound to happen, even in the presentation world. In the case of unexpected slip-ups, panicking only clouds your judgment and impairs your insight. You may try to remedy your mistake by doing everything at once, or apologizing to the audience, but before you do that, step back from your thoughts and rationalize the situation.

Keep your composure. The show must go on. Don’t lose your credibility by responding poorly to unpredictable mishaps.

If you accidentally tripped while walking, maintain your poise and continue discussing your topic. It’s natural that some of your audience will laugh at you, but if they see you recover quickly without being bothered by it, they’ll soon forget it ever happened.

Avoid giving negative reactions like frowning, walking out of the room, or gesturing uneasily. In cases like these, having a neutral expression will help mask any feelings of anxiety or inadequacy that might be controlling your actions and emotions.

Come Prepared

Flash drives may flounder, batteries may drain, and files may get corrupted. Impress your audience by solving these uncontrollable crises with enthusiasm. Add a dash of humor related to your pitch to engage the audience and buy yourself some time to think up of what to do next when something goes wrong.

A sour attitude will only worsen things. Admit to yourself that there are some circumstances that will always be out of your control. But even though you accept this fact, try to minimize inevitable mishaps as much as possible.

Have a backup plan to address the problem in case it comes up. Bring a spare flash drive, pack extra batteries, and keep duplicate copies of your files. What else are cloud-based drives for?

Don’t Dwell on the Problem

Pointing fingers to who or what caused the problem won’t get you anywhere. Stay professional and focus on solving it. Provide an immediate solution along with a composed response and anticipate your listeners’ behavior.

While you won’t want to be too pessimistic about how things will turn out, or how people will react, you need to prepare yourself both emotionally and mentally for any backlash that a presentation snafu might bring. Strengthening yourself against unfavorable responses and situations will help you decide with a clearer perspective on things.

Instead of getting angry or feeling guilty, go back to building your pitch by affirming your message. The way you handle yourself on stage in the face of such challenges will boost your speaking credibility.

Conclusion

Whether you’re delivering a big sales pitch or a start-up presentation, it’s your responsibility to own every good or bad of it. Handle the unexpected circumstances with professionalism by following these three tips.

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References

10 Ways to Make a Positive First Impression during Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed July 13, 2015.
Murphy’s Law.” Freie Universitat Berlin. Accessed July 13, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “3D Emergency Fund” by Chris Potter on flickr.com