When 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:
- Arm and hand placement
- 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.
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