How to be a Persuasive Presenter
Persuasive Presentation Tips
Turbocharge Your Presentations
How to be a persuasive presenter? Turbocharge your presentations!
Would you like to be a persuasive speaker and make your presentations much more effective.
Being persuasive is 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.
How to be a persuasive presenter starts with thinking about the content of your presentation.
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, whether a product, service or an idea, 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.
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 big difference.
Mean What You Say
Have you 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.
Clearly their enthusiasm for helping you was minimal. And so was your enthusiasm for shopping there again.
Other times you may have been on the receiving end of a sales pitch and it’s clear that it was 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.
As we saw in the example above, a downbeat, dreary sounding voice is never likely to be persuasive.
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? Unlikely.
We look in detail 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?
Body language is important.
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 endlessly moving around at the front of the room.
Using humour is one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience and get them on your side.
But it needs to be relevant to the situation and to what you are saying. Jokes are best avoided; subtle humour is the order of the day.
What does work well is to be self-deprecating and poke fun at yourself. (Note: this is not the same as apologising unnecessarily for any inadequacies you think you 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 your way to engaging with them.
Persuasive Presentation Practice
That’s the key elements of how to be a persuasive presenter.
Now it’s time to Practice, Practice and Practice. Deliver your presentation as though the audience was there.
Keep practising until you can deliver your presentation confidently and with enthusiasm!
And that’s how to be a persuasive presenter.
(Last updated 10th August 2023)
You may also like our post on How to make Powerful Presentations
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