Crafting a Powerful Persuasive Presentation

When it comes to meeting people and presenting in person, you are in a good position to ‘read the room’, to get a sense of how your information is or isn’t being accepted. You can see first-hand the nuances of body language, facial gestures and signs of disengagement of people looking at their mobile phones.

With most of your meetings now happening virtually, it becomes more challenging to put your finger on the pulse of your client or prospects response via the small screen. It can be further complicated when your audience of one or many has their camera turned off forcing you to rely only on verbal clues.

The good news is that you can still deliver an impactful presentation that convert. Before sitting down to craft your next presentation, consider these three things; the objective of the presentation, the decision to be made by the client or prospect and how much time you’ll for delivering the presentation.

Once you know those first few things, you can then sit down to reverse engineer the layout and content of the presentation.

The Objective of the Presentation

When you just read the above paragraph, you might have thought to yourself that the objective and decision to be made are one in the same and they are not.

Before we can even begin to write the content of the message, you need to know what the objective of the presentation is. Determine whether the message is intended to educate on a product or service; to inform the audience, such as a company announcement or to get their buy in. Lastly, is it to inspire or motivate the audience as many corporate leaders might be doing for their employees and stakeholders.

The Business Decision to be Made

In preparation of any presentation you might be giving, you need to understand one key thing-that the presentation is being made so that the person or team members listening can make a decision. Your role as the presenter is to give them the information they need to make a decision to say yes, say no, move forward with the next meeting, raise their hand to an idea or at the very least ask questions.

Delivery Time

You are starting on the wrong foot with your presentation if you have not determined how much time you have to delivery your presentation. It is a huge mistake to have a presentation run longer than the audience is expecting and could effectively squash an opportunity as a result.

First and foremost, find out how much time you are given to speak. Then immediately knock off 10-15 minutes. This will ensure that you end early and allow time for any Q&A at the end.

So, if you are given an hour, plan for a about 45-50 minutes and then reverse engineer the presentation. This means you need to craft the presentation with this timing in mind. Perhaps you allow 5 minutes for the introduction and perhaps another 10 minutes for the conclusion and closing. That means I need to divide up the remaining 35 minutes for the body of the presentation.

The brain likes the number 3. That means your listeners will remember more of your presentation if you deliver the content as three topics. Those three topics along with their talking points would be spread across the 35 minutes for about 10 – 12 minutes for each topic being shared.

You can use this format for any amount of time given for your presentation.

So now that you know your objective, what desired decision the audience needs to make and how much time for delivery, we can now move onto building a persuasive presentation.

Building a Persuasion Presentation

When it comes to delivering your presentation, it is important that you have a structure to your talk-it allows you to establish a foundation for your talk.

There are two formats to consider:

A. Past, Present, Future

Start by having a discussion on where your audience (client, stakeholder, peers) was in the past.

Establish what is happening in the present (what are they achieving or not achieving).

Explain how you can improve their future, where you can take them.

B. Why you?, Why your company?, Why now?

Each time you give a presentation, there are three questions that you need to answer for the prospect or client, even if they don’t ask you directly.

You ned to answer the question of why they should work with you as an individual.

You need to answer the question of why they should consider your company, product or service, especially if they currently have a current vendor or company that they are satisfied with.

You need to answer the question of why they should work with your company right now. This is where you demonstrate the opportunity cost.

Presentation Format

The classic presentation structure has four main parts: An introduction, the body (the 3 main talking points), a conclusion and a close.

Building a persuasive presentation is never complete until you add a conclusion and end with a clear and confident close.

The conclusion provides a quick reference back to your attention-grabbing opening, pulls the loose ends together and brings your argument to an end. The presentation is only complete when you close, i.e., include a specific call to action.

So, there you have it. A process that will allow you to draft a presentation by first asking key questions, using your time strategically and then building the argument for your presentation.

Pamela Wigglesworth, CSP, is an entrepreneurship and market

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Basic Presentation Skills

Presentation is a communication process of transmitting the message from the presenter to the audience. This message can vary in length and complexity. Different presentation aids can be used e.g. flip chart, PowerPoint presentation with the video beamer, whiteboard with erasable pens, laser pointers, etc. Presentation can be done in different circumstances in a more or less formal way.

In fact, everybody is in the position to be a presenter at some point. At school, at the university, during the business presentation or even you can be a professional presenter. Now we come to common problem for most of the people. This problem is “Stage Fright” combined with lack of technical skills of presenting.

Stage fright can be really terrifying to some people. Many people have the fear of the audience, lights of the stage, they are afraid what will be if someone ask them difficult question. This is causing nervousness, sweating, accelerated heartbeat, dizziness or even panic attacks.

On the other hand, presenting skills are technical aspect. Presentation skills are a broad area. It takes some time to develop this skill, for some people more, for the other less time, depends of a talent. Since all of us can be in situation to be presenters, to be in the center of the audience, it is useful to learn basic skills of presenting.

Anybody can prepare at least a decent presentation. Presentation takes some time and effort for preparation. During preparation try to follow basic rules:

· You need to have a minimum of expertise in the area of presentation. This means that you cannot just learn your lines that you will say during the every slide, but you also need to be prepared to answer to potential questions from the audience. Simply, you need to have at least the basic knowledge on the subject presented.

· Make concept for your presentation ( intro, main part, conclusion ). Your presentation needs to have meaningful flow. It should have a theme, the message and learning for your audience. Set up learning goals for your audience and check the results at the end. Longer presentation should have detailed agenda developed.

· Use aids ( power point or flip chart ), but remember that you are still one who is presenting, not the slides. Do not exaggerate with the presentation aids. They should assist you, instead you assist to them.

· Use not more 3-4 lines of text on presentation slides, with maybe 1 photo. If you put too many details, nobody will read it. Average audience is not reading the content of the slide, in case that there are too many details on it. Slides should be clear in content, visible for everybody in your audience, with graphic and color that will not distract audience, or make them difficult to read. If you are not skillful with graphic and colors, use predefined templates.

· Exercise your presentation, so that you get a feeling about it. Check all slides before presentation. Check the video beamer, cables, remote control, room lights and other technicalities before beginning of presentation. Check the colors and readability, since video beamer can present colors in different way than your computer screen. Distorted colors can make reading difficult or impossible.

· Assess the time needed for you presentation and check the timing during your rehearsals. If your presentation is longer, divide it in sections ( e.g. 45 min ) with breaks ( e.g. 10 min ). Time management is critical during the presentation, since audience might start to feel bored if presentation is too long. You can even not finish your presentation, if it takes too long time.

· Try to move around during your presentation. Use your body language. If you just stand still in one place, you will become invisible soon to you audience and their eyes and mind might start to wander around. By moving your self and using your body language, in accordance the dynamic of the subject presented, you are keeping the audience alerted.

· Use examples for your statements. That can be your experience or something you read. If you are using somebody’s examples, quote source of information. You can even say a short story or saying, if you find it suitable for supporting your presentation.

· Use humor in your presentation. This can be planned or spontaneous, but within limits that will not change normal flow of presentation.

· Ask questions to the audience. Ask for volunteers, or pick someone to answer. This will help you to keep the audience alert. They will pay more attention to your presentation, since they know that you might ask them later on. Asking questions will make your presentation more interactive, more interesting to the audience and easier for you, since you will animate people to participate.

· Do not say something like “Sorry about my presentation” or “I am nervous”. I remember some of my friends that used to say something like that during the presentation. I found that to be wrong, since their presentations were actually good and I wouldn’t ever guess that they are nervous or unprepared, if they didn’t say something like that. If you state that you apologize because you are not a good presenter, you are ruining your credibility before you even started. Even if you are a bit nervous there is no reason to say that.

Actually, everybody, even the most experienced presenters, have some “stage fright”. It is normal. But as soon as the presentation starts, you will be released, since you will involve your energy into the presentation.

I am not “born presenter”, since I am an introvert person, but I learned some basic presenting skills and I am using them during occasional business presentation.

Finally, you are born without knowledge of speaking any language, without knowledge of mathematics, without knowledge of driving the bike or a car. But you learned that and adopted these knowledge a

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off