I Like It … but I am not persuaded!

Presentation SkillsWhen you deliver a presentation, what is the main goal? I believe that there are two goals: to provide information and persuade your audience to you point of view. I should also emphasize that a presentation may not always involve a large audience at a meeting, convention, conference or even a sales presentation. Simply stated, when you seek to move a person or group to accept your point of view, your goal is persuasion.

Persuasion is an umbrella term of influence. Persuasion can attempt to influence a person’s beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors. In business, persuasion is a process aimed at changing a person’s (or a group’s) attitude or behavior toward some event, idea, object, or other person(s), by using written or spoken words to convey information, feelings, or reasoning, or a combination thereof.

Persuasion is viewed differently by different people and is sometimes viewed as manipulation. Effective presentation skills are a part of the persuasive process. But the other part of the process is emotional. This emotional component should be emphasized because your goal is to achieve a long-lasting and shared view. What you want to avoid is “buyer’s remorse.” Persuasion should have a lasting effect.

Irrespective of the size of your audience, it is important to plan a coherent case, by carefully organizing your points. If your presentation involves slides or other visual aids, you must be mindful of five (5) physical aspects normally associated with formal presentations.

They include but are not limited to:

  • Posture
  • Arm and hand placement
  • Gestures
  • Voice projection and inflection
  • Eye contact and control

If you need improvement or development in any of these physical aspects of presentation skills, practice in front of a mirror, or make videos of yourself. Continue this routine until you have achieved muscle memory that coordinate to your vocalizations. You should also accept that a certain amount or level of anxiety may be present during any speaking or presentation situation. As you become more accustomed to these situations, you can combine and adjust your voice, posture and gestures in different ways.

Related Articles:   When Presenting … pause here, here and here! and   Engage Your Audience … compel them to listen!

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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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