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Persuasion: The Ultimate Essential Skill in Marketing

You’ve had good sales, and you’ve definitely had bad ones. It’s a facet of a marketer’s life: successes and failures, closes and rejections, profits and losses. Who hasn’t experienced both? But the lesson there lies on the fact that you will do everything to minimize that ratio. Perhaps five yays to one nay? How do you do that?

Sales is a game of numbers—and persuasion, the latter more so since you dictate how that whole process goes. When the whole transaction arrives at that part, it’s just you and your potential customer—and ultimately them alone. It’s their choice; you’re there to make them see that choosing you is the correct one.

Good marketers will keep talking about what they’re offering non-stop, hoping that the service or product—its features, specifications, and the like—will entice the customer to buy it and letting it do the talk. Great marketers will relate with the following infographic. Let’s study up on persuasion, the ultimate essential skill.

There are many psychological effects at play when persuading. Take the scarcity principle and the backfire effect as examples. While one is advantageous, the other will break every bit of work you’ve done—maybe because they weren’t interested enough to begin with or they have a different opinion (even then, you really can’t pinpoint why).

This is a simple representation of how and why the human mind is tricky. Psychology, eh? There are a handful of shortcuts here and there, but while those can be a great help, none of them is a guarantee.

One reminder you always have to keep in mind is to be honest and genuine. When you say that you want to help, it should be the ultimate goal. It’s not just about closing a sale, not turning a profit, and not making money.

An honest marketer is often the best kind. No need for embellishments. No need for sugarcoating. Just genuineness. What maybe the ultimate trait you can have coupled with the ultimate skill you can hone may just be the best combination.


Kessler, Doug. “6 examples of insane honesty in content marketing.” Velocity. May 12, 2015.

Kessler, Doug. “7 Ways to Be Insanely Honest in Your Marketing.” Hubspot. May 15, 2015.

Lee, Kevan. “How to Win Friends and Influence Your Audience: 10 Theories to Know For Greater Persuasion.” Buffer. April 29, 2014.

Wright Wiley, Kim. “The Persuasion Principle.” Selling Power. n.d.

How to Maximize Eye Contact for Presentations

A study from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that 70% of non-verbal communication is based on body language.

Among other forms of body language, eye contact plays a significant role in building a deeper connection with acquaintances, friends, and strangers. This proves that eye contact is an important part of interacting with other people.

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Eye Contact in Non-Verbal Communication

We often forget how much our eyes contribute to our daily interactions. In most cases, we’re unaware of how our gaze can make communication more powerful and effective.

The eyes are the most expressive parts of the human body. We can determine someone’s inner thoughts or feelings by just looking at their eyes.

Conveying positive emotions and confidence is essential for any effective presenter. This works the same way for your audience. Eckhard Hess, an American psychologist and ethnologist, discovered that the our pupils dilate when we are interested in a conversation. If the pupils contract, it shows disinterest. These, in a way, gauge how effectively you can establish rapport and persuade the audience.

Here are further reasons why eye contact is necessary:

It catches attention

People lose interest if they sense a lack of passion from the presenter. Once you’ve successfully established eye contact, show them that you’re confident to stand and talk in front of them. They’ll become more attentive and interested in your pitch.

It engages the audience

Speech coach Patricia Fripp writes about the positive effects of eye contact. According to Fripp, not only is it effective in convincing people, it also boosts self-esteem, another crucial factor in delivering a winning pitch.

If you conduct business presentations, establishing stable eye contact makes the audience feel that you’re interested in them, allowing you to build trust and rapport. Make them feel that they are involved in their presentation.

It makes a good impression

Great presenters avoid looking at their notes while speaking, letting their audience read and understand the message by making eye contact.

Your audience’s first impression of your performance can either increase or decrease your credibility. Doing well makes them understand that you are knowledgeable and confident.

How long should you maintain eye contact?

Leadership trainer Dan Rockwell advises presenters to keep eye contact for at least three to four seconds per person in each group.

If you’re discussing something that’s related to your subject, know when to pause so they can catch up to the ideas you’re highlighting.

It takes practice to master eye contact.

Learn and practice this technique to achieve your audience’s expectations.

Since the eyes convey your emotions, you need to give off a friendly yet confident impression for your audience during presentations.

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“Build Emotional Connection Through Good Eye Contact.” Patricia Fripp. 2009. Accessed May 21, 2015.
Hess, Eckhard H. “The Role of Pupil Size in Communication.” Sci Am Scientific American 233, no. 5 (1975): 110-19.
Power Your Presentations with These Body Language Tips.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed May 21, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 04, 2014. Accessed May 21, 2015.
Rockwell, Dan. “Secrets to Great Presentations.” Leadership Freak. June 18, 2014. Accessed June 21, 2015.

Sales Presentation Skills: Stay Relevant to Pitch Ideas

The best speakers are at the top of their game because they stay relevant to their topics and audiences. They know who they’re talking to and what to say to keep listeners hooked.

This is why their slides are impactful, and why their body language and manner of speaking captivate and encourage audience participation.

In his article in Marketing Magazine, Interbrand’s Chuck Brymer notes leading brands in the world such as Coca-Cola, Apple, Starbucks, and BMW, which utilize the technique to staying relevant.

They reap profit because they maintain a deep understanding of their consumer base and keep up with what happens in their lives. They also make use of simple yet innovative ideas in their advertising. By keeping up with their customers, these brands always make messages that people can relate to.

Presenters can apply this principle to their sales presentation skills using three important tips:

1. Shared Beliefs Connect You to Your Audience Faster

One important factor in connecting effectively with other people is an exchange of shared beliefs. Make a mental list of the right words, tone, and emotional triggers to use so you can connect with others better.

Do your clients specialize in manufacturing and distributing sports goods? Use action-oriented content and designs, then incorporate the core message of either seizing the moment while you can or finding satisfaction in breaking your physical limits.

Are your clients a tech-oriented company? Maybe you can bank on a common objective of providing devices that make people’s work easier and more productive.

Regardless of the industry, you need to know your audience in order to adjust your sales presentation skills accordingly.

2. Connect With Them on an Emotional then Rational Level

Understanding the people you talk to gives them a sense of empathy. After making this connection around a similar set of experiences or ideals, rationalize it by citing concrete examples.

Look at Nike: their “Just Do It” tagline sells to everyone regardless of age, gender and occupation. This message connects with their intended customers since it reaches out to them on an emotional level.

3. Know the Right Questions to Ask

Involve your listeners in the discussion. Work with what you learn from the people you speak to so you can give a relevant presentation. Stay updated with information relevant to them and more importantly, it gives you information that you can translate to relevant PowerPoint content to use either now or in the future.

Renowned author, Jim Aitchison, cites the Kaminomoto hair restorer ad campaign’s discreet tone worked because the ad agency realized that their customers didn’t want to be reminded of their baldness.

They preferred an ad with a message that only they would understand. Their execution included random objects with hair growing out of them and a tagline that read “Be careful with the Kaminomoto”.


Your audiences are human just like you. Each person grows and learns new things while refining their purchasing standards (or investing in pitches in the presenter’s case).

To connect with them and convince them of your ideas, form an emotional connection to reach out and effectively sell your ideas.



Aitchison, J. (2004). Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print For Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore: Prentice Hall.
A Presentation Expert’s Guide to Knowing the Audience.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed May 11, 2015.
Brymer, Chuck. “WHAT MAKES BRANDS GREAT?Marketing Magazine. Accessed May 11, 2015.
Just Do ItNike. Accessed May 11, 2015.

The Simplest Way to Sell Convincing Investment Presentations

All successful presentations depend on how well you convince your audience. You can use presentation techniques such as relating to common ethics, simplifying your pitches and following a three-part structure to your advantage.

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The one secret that connects all of these is an understanding of the most basic models of communication.

These basic communication models have three things in common:

  1. Sending a message (in this case, your pitch)
  2. Receiving/understanding it (on the side of your clients/audience)
  3. The noise or factors preventing others from properly interpreting your message

Once you familiarize yourself with these three, you will be able to compose more specific and understandable messages for your audience, regardless of the presentation technique you use.

According to brand specialist Carmine Gallo, a great way to practice this is making your topic short enough to fit a Twitter headline. This strips your pitch into a concise statement that guides the rest of your presentation. It also keeps your audience grounded on what you want them to hear and see.

The Communication Model

One of the most basic models of communication was developed in 1948 by Claude Shannon, a mathematician and electronic engineer, and his co-author, Warren Weaver. From a presenter’s point of view, the sender is the speaker giving the pitch, the channel is the PowerPoint deck, and the receiver is the audience.

During the decoding process, the receiver translates the message into mental images or symbols that make sense to them.

Your audience needs to visualize exactly what’s in your mind. When structuring your message, the words and images that you use should show exactly what you’re thinking.

For instance, if you want to pitch the idea that Nike Shox helps you jump higher (Aitchison, 2004), center your topic and your investment presentations on that specific idea

Watch Out For Noise

In their work, Looking out/looking in, Adler and Towne identify another component of this model: noise.

While not limited to disruptive sounds, noise includes anything that prevents you from properly sending your ideas to your clients. Poorly constructed and text-heavy PowerPoint slides, a sloppy manner of speech and cluttered image layouts all contribute to noise. Prevent these problems by keeping your message concise and grounded on a specific main idea.

If the Nike Shox ad was presented with technical explanations and scientists in a lab, would it be as effective as Vince Carter jumping over Gary Payton and his huge wig?


Since pitches have a Q&A part, your audience can and will react with their own feedback.

This ranges from clarifications on your costs, the implementation of your proposal to praises and sometimes, negative feedback.

Clients may object to your proposal because it goes against their current corporate strategies, costs more than what they plan to invest, or simply because the pitch was not properly explained.

Remember that regardless of the feedback, addressing it properly can give your clients the impression that you have thoroughly composed your pitch and solidified it enough to answer any concerns.

This basic model forms the basis of all investment presentations.

As long as messages are built around a clear and specific idea, any presenter will be able to successfully deliver their messages while minimizing the amount of negative feedback.

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Ad Agency Tricks: Outsell Competitors in Sales Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed May 11, 2015.
Adler, R., & Towne, N. Looking out/looking in (2nd ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978.
Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print For Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Nike Shox. TV Ad.
Communication Models.” Tutorialspoint. Accessed May 11, 2015.

5 TED Talk Secrets for Persuasive PowerPoint Presentations

It’s difficult to make ideas stick on an emotional and rational level. How do TED speakers pull it off without breaking a sweat?

It all begins with knowledge and expertise. They know their topics so well that they can explain things in simple terms. This simplicity also lets them explain why people should care about their stories.

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You can apply their techniques for more persuasive PowerPoint presentations.

According to brand communication expert Carmine Gallo, there are five secrets that’ll help you get your point across like the TED Talk pros.

Stick to Eighteen Minutes

Regardless of topic, TED presenters boil their content down to an eighteen-minute presentation.

According to research by Lloyds TSB, adults can only pay attention for five minutes. Given this drastic drop in attention span, keeping people interested for at least thrice as long becomes a challenge.

This is why speakers like Al Gore get straight to the point. Avoid boring your audience by not using too much jargon, walls of text, or distracting images in your slides. The less superfluous presentation elements you have, the more time you’ve got to spare for content that matters.

Play to Your Passions

TED Talk pros have one signature trait: motivation. They’re genuinely interested, if not passionate, about their topics. This passion drives them to share their knowledge with others.

They’re genuinely interested, if not passionate, about their topics. This passion drives them to share their knowledge with others. Think of a hobby you enjoy doing. You can also look back to a significant moment in your life. Now, pretend you had to tell a stranger all about it—how would you do it?

In a 2013 TED Conference, Richard Turere described himself as a boy who was very interested in electronics. As a child, he spent considerable time studying discarded mechanical parts.

What was he presenting during that conference? It was a lighting system designed to scare off lions from livestock farms. Turere used trivia about his childhood to make the audience confident in his capabilities.

Similarly, showing the audience that you’re invested in what you do boosts your credibility in their eyes.

Relate It to Personal Experiences

To catch people’s attention, you need to connect with them on an emotional level. You can do this by tapping into your audience’s shared beliefs.

TED presenters use this approach because they’ve often lived and breathed whatever they’re talking about. This personal experience makes them eager to share what they’ve gone through with others.

In the previous example, Turere recounted his early years living on his family’s farm where they contended with lions that attacked the livestock.

At eleven years old, he designed a series of mounted lights that would go on and off at certain intervals, giving lions the impression of people patrolling the area. This not only protected his family’s farm, but that of their neighbors as well.

Like Turere, use your life experiences to talk about why you do what you do, and why it’s important to you. Aside from the emotional bond you’ll be forming with your listener, adding a personal story can also make it easier to get your core message across, especially if it’s directly related to your pitch.

Because it’s something you know, the familiarity of the experience will serve as a guide to draw your key points from.

Keep Your Slide Designs Simple

Even in TED Talks, simplicity is key.

Al Gore held a TED Talk on climate change, with a PowerPoint that contained mostly images. His slides had almost no text whatsoever.

Visual-based slides left him with more room to give information in the simplest way possible. The audience didn’t need to split their attention between reading from his slides and listening to his speech.

The slides were used to supply the imagery he needed. No need for extra jargon or any bells and whistles. All he needed were the facts and their implications.

Minimize Your Content

Remember that you are the focus of the talk. You are the person sharing your stories to people who probably know nothing about what you do, let alone what you’ve gone through.

At this point, you can ask yourself questions like:

  • What experiences can I share in order to drive my point across?
  • What questions can I use to challenge their perceptions of this topic?

While a simple yet striking PowerPoint design can help supply the imagery you need, remember that what you share must come from you alone. It’ll affect your speech content, delivery style, as well as your tone of speaking. Your personal experiences, values you live by, and even your own tastes can influence what you deliver when presenting.

A pitch won’t make much of an impact if the message isn’t meaningful enough on its own.

TED speakers effectively communicate with audiences because they talk to people on the same level. They include their own life experiences and shared beliefs, and package their stories in ways that are easy to digest. They do this not only to connect with their listeners, but also to give credibility to their discussions.

Fortunately, life isn’t only experienced by TED speakers.

Everybody has the capacity to move people with their own words. You can also take something from your own experience and weave it into a story that will positively affect other people.

Even the simplest anecdote can become the key that pushes people to take action.

In the end, it’s the lessons that your stories can teach that matter the most.

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Gallo, Carmine. “How to Give a ‘TED-Worthy’ Presentation.” Bloomberg Business Week. June 1, 2010. Accessed April 29, 2015.
“Giving a Speech? Conquer the Five-minute Attention Span.” Fortune. July 10, 2013. Accessed April 29, 2015.
“Enhance Your Sales Presentation by Appealing to Emotions.” SlideGenius, Inc. September 15, 2015.
“Notes from TED: Presentation Tips from Memorable TED Talks.” SlideGenius, Inc. February 16, 2015. Accessed April 29, 2015.
Richard Turere.” TED. Accessed April 29, 2015.
Kermeliotis, Teo. “Boy Scares off Lions with Flashy Invention.” CNN. February 26, 2013. Accessed April 29, 2015.


Featured Image: Huffington Post