Had Your Presentation Booster Shot Yet!

Presentation SkillsSome find it far easier than others to present to an audience. Persuasion is powerful and when you do it well – it’s a win for your audience and a win for your business. Depending on the presentation’s purpose, a speaker will use an emotional or logical appeal to spur the audience into action, based on the reading of listeners’ facial and bodily reactions to his message. So how do you become more persuasive when presenting?

Here are some useful tips:

Build Credibility
Build your credibility early, because the audience wants to know what qualifies the speaker to address the topic. Before you can convince an audience to accept anything you say, they have to accept you as credible. If you are introduced, make sure that your bio or introduction addresses some of the following aspects about your background and credentials:

  • Educational and professional accomplishments
  • Examples or mentions of individuals or organizations that you have helped
  • One or two written or testimonials or quotes about you and your work
  • Include a relevant success story about you and your services on this speech topic.

The point is that it isn’t enough for you to know that you are a credible source, your audience must know this as well.

Answer Their Questions
Before you begin, understand why you are giving the presentation and what your audience wants to know. Establish that question up front and then spend the majority of the speech answering it. You need to be clear as a bell on the transformation your product or service provides for the audience. It’s easier to persuade when you know exactly how you or your product can make someone’s life better.

Avoid Jargon
Nothing bogs a presentation down more than buzzwords that may sound impressive but may also confuse your audience. Before you deliver the presentation, read the final draft one more time, and delete the words that the audience needs a dictionary or specialized knowledge to understand.

Use Emotion and Logic
To arouse the positive emotions of your audience, subtly use words that appeal to their feelings and sympathies. For instance, you can work some of the following words into your presentation; freedom, success, prestige, compassion, free, value, and comfort. These kinds of words put your audience in a certain frame of mind and help them accept your message.

For most business situations, the best use of emotion is working in tandem with logic. Even if your audience reaches a conclusion based on emotions, want to hear you provide logical support for your positions, recommendations or statements. In any argument you might use to persuade an audience, you make a claim and then support your claim with reasons or evidence.

People are wired to listen to stories and metaphors. Some of the most compelling presentations take the audience on a journey. These stories contain selected analogies and metaphors which are powerful tools for helping people understand our thoughts clearly and concretely. The easiest way to explain complicated ideas is through examples or by sharing a story that underscores the point. If you want your audience to remember your content, then find a way to deliver your core message with good, short stories and examples.

No matter what the message, a speaker must deliver it with passion. Use vocal variation that makes the message convincing. Not only is vocal passion critical, but it must be congruent with your visual body language. If your message can help audience members, and you believe in its content, it is up to you to deliver it enthusiastically so that people get excited.

Motivational Sequence

  • The attention step is designed to gain the audience’s attention and create goodwill.
  • The need element relates a general problem related to the audiences’ desires.
  • Satisfaction shows how your service or product solves the problem.
  • Visualization describes how things will be after the proposal is adopted.

You must request a clear call-to-action that appeals to your audience to take a specific action following your speech. If you have been persuasive and your audience is emotionally invested, the best time for action is now. An ideal call-to-action is one which your audience can act on immediately, perhaps even before they leave the room. If this isn’t feasible, then aim for actions that can reasonably be completed within hours or a day or two. The longer it takes to initiate the action, the more likely that your audience will lose motivation.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Communication Skills, Leadership

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