Why should your presentation persuade?
Persuade: advise, urge, move by argument, reason earnestly
Because being persuasive is critical to your success!
Your job requires you to influence people. You might need to gain support among your peers, convince a subordinate that your project takes precedence over another’s, talk a colleague into staying late to meet a deadline, persuade someone to promote your ideas or simply get your significant other to drive the kids to work when you have an early morning meeting. All of these attempts to influence require a presentation by you, no matter how short. It may only be a conversation; a phone call.
Influence requires persuasion. Virtually ALL presentations contain an element of persuasion. The ONLY type that DOES NOT is a presentation developed to provide objective information, so that the audience can be fully informed and make up its own mind.
However, in business, this type of presentation is in the minority. The speed of today’s business environment generally requires presentations to further a way of thinking; to advocate a course of action. In other words, why do the research if you’re not going to draw a conclusion; take a stand; promote your opinion? As a result, it’s your job as a presenter to choose a side and persuade your audience to follow your train of thought – that it’s the right one – and get them to agree to take action. Here are a couple of examples:
- 1. In sales, persuasive presentations are a “given.” If you’re not persuading your customer to buy your product or service, you’re in the wrong profession! Even if you’re NOT in sales, you make several persuasive presentations every day.
- 2. As a manager, you’re judged by how much you accomplish. The more you can get subordinates to research a topic, reason effectively and present a persuasive presentation based upon the facts, the faster you’ll make decisions – the faster you’ll move up the ladder. Success is built upon your company’s employees being able to build a persuasive argument, communicate that argument effectively and prepare it in a minimum amount of time (ie. – efficiently).
You gain a tremendous amount of personal power from being able to influence people. You become known as “someone who gets things done” – exciting to be around. Being able to get things done enhances your career – it makes you much more successful, it make you more money.
If you want to get people to do things for you, or further your career, you need to know how to be persuasive; how to influence. There is no absolute “right way,” but there are a lot of wrong ways. The fact is that many things come into play when trying to influence people – to get them to do what you want them to do.
Here’s a list of things to keep in mind:
- When people are unsure and the situation is ambiguous, they are more likely to rely on or follow the behavior of others
- People are more inclined to follow people who are similar (dress, mannerisms, appearance, etc.)
- People prefer to say ‘yes’ to individuals they know and like
- Praise can play a role, although if it’s blatantly transparent, it can do more harm than good
- People generally like to deal with experts, as long as they can trust the expert to be truthful (trustworthy)
- People are more willing to accept requests that are consistent with a prior commitment. Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with that prior commitment
- Things difficult to attain are perceived as more valuable.
- Your audience will forget 50% of your presentation within 24 hours. 48 hours later, they will remember LESS THAN 25%.
There’s a generally accepted way to develop a presentation – based upon a logical structure and an argument designed to influence your audience. However, every audience is different and KNOWING or UNDERSTANDING your audience is KEY. There are lots of places to find this information. However, having a proven method of developing a persuasive presentation – using steps that work EVERY TIME in virtually EVERY SITUATION – that’s a scarcity!
So, if you want to increase your influence, gain more personal power in both business and your personal life, the ability to write and structure a persuasive presentation is critical to your success.