How to be a Persuasive Presenter
Persuasive Presentation Tips
Make Persuasive Presentations
Are you a persuasive presenter?
No? Then find out how to be persuasive. It’ll make your presentations and speeches much more effective.
OK, so how to do it? Well, it’s a bit like getting a small child to do what you want. Cajoling, encouragement, bribery – it’s all part of the game.
The same applies with your audience. OK, perhaps not the bribery bit.
But whether the objective is to entertain, educate or persuade, you need to engage with your audience. It’s essential to develop a rapport. To get them onboard with your aim.
You need them to understand that you’re interested in them and what you can do for them. It’s essential to be believable, sincere, authentic, call it what you will. Of course the content of the speech has to be appealing, to be relevant. But it’s the way you deliver it that will make the difference.
Mean What You Say
At some point most of us have walked up to a shop counter and the sales assistant has said, “Can I help you?”. But it’s been said in a downbeat voice while looking down at the counter. It was quite obvious they didn’t really mean what they said. Their enthusiasm for helping us was minimal. And so was our enthusiasm for shopping there again.
Other times we may have been on the receiving end of a sales pitch and it’s clear that it is being rattled off from a memorized script. With that approach, the salesperson probably wouldn’t be able to sell it to themselves.
Let’s take a look at how you can make persuasive presentations by using your voice, your eyes, your body language, and being amusing. Knowing what you’re talking about helps as well!
As we saw in the example above, a downbeat, dreary sounding voice is never likely to be persuasive. Other than to persuade us it’s time to take a nap.
A voice that sounds like a scripted recording is hardly going to excite either. If you listen to commercial radio stations, you’ll be familiar with the terms and conditions voice that follows an advert. The ‘small print’ voice. Do you make any attempt to listen to what’s being said? Probably not.
We look at how to use your voice most effectively in another post. But for now, let’s just aim to sound enthusiastic and genuine.
OK, so we’ve given our sales assistant a bit of coaching about sounding enthusiastic when they say, “Can I help you?”
But it still doesn’t work. Why? Because they are maintaining their downward gaze at the counter. Or looking across to a colleague on an adjacent till.
Eye contact is important. Nervous speakers often find it more comfortable to look at the floor, the ceiling, speaking notes. In fact anything except the audience. And they often don’t realise they are doing it.
To be convincing, to become a persuasive presenter, you need to make eye contact with the audience. Just scanning from side to side and from front to back at key points in the presentation will make a difference. And, for a fraction of a second, directly looking into the eyes of every audience member will make a bigger difference.
Yes, you’ve guessed, we’re back at that shop counter again. Now the assistant is sounding enthusiastic and is looking at us. But think how much better it would be if they smiled as well.
So what else does our friend need to do if they want to come out from behind the counter and venture into sales presentations?
We want them to appear animated and enthusiastic. But too much movement can be distracting. Hands can be used to emphasise or demonstrate some aspects, but we don’t want to see a windmill standing in front of us.
And we certainly don’t want a wandering windmill. One that endlessly moves around at the front of the room. If you were having a 1-2-1 conversation, you wouldn’t wander around, would you?
Getting the audience to laugh is one of the most effective ways to engage with them. It helps to get them on your side. But it needs to be relevant to the situation and to what you are saying. A completely irrelevant joke, however amusing, is unlikely to work. In fact, jokes are best avoided; subtle humour is the order of the day.
What does work well is to poke fun at ourselves. To be self-deprecating. (Note: this is not the same as apologising unnecessarily for any inadequacies we think we may have.)
We much prefer people who don’t take themselves too seriously to those who are full of themselves. Get the audience to giggle early on and you’re on our way to engaging with them.
A well structure speech is important to help your audience take in what you’re saying. In simple terms, simplify. Have what content you need, or rather, what the audience needs. Remember, you’re trying to engage with them, so this has to be about them. If you’re selling something, you need to show how it can help them in some way.
It’s important to structure the presentation in a way that makes it easy for you to present and the listeners to follow. It’s essential to rehearse the presentation so that you know where you’re going. You need to be confident about presenting the content and to be able to handle any questions without getting thrown off balance.
Are You a Persuasive Presenter?
You can be persuasive if you engage with your audience. If you make effective use of your voice, body language and use humour, it will encourage people to engage with what you are saying. Eye contact with the audience will signal that you are talking directly to them and not just reciting your lines.
Once you know what you want to say, Practice, Practice and Practice are the top three tips for delivering a compelling presentation. Start preparing well before the event and keep practising until you can deliver your presentation confidently and with enthusiasm! And then you will be a persuasive presenter.
You may also like our post on How to make Powerful Presentations
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