Master Your Message Blog

How to Open Your Persuasive Presentation

Virtually every presentation has to persuade someone of something.

Now you might argue that point by saying that some presentations are informational. That may be true. But there’s usually a desire on the part of the presenter to persuade the audience that the information is important, or that they should do something with that information after the talk is complete.

Setting up a persuasive presentation is actually relatively easy. You want to make sure your audience knows why you’re all assembled there – usually there’s a problem or opportunity. It’s your job as the presenter to state what it is so that you and the audience are “on the same page.”

Once the problem is on the table, it’s time to deal with the solution. The problem and solution (in that order) are the two most important parts of your persuasive presentation. But, there’s a little bit more to it than that …

The opening includes the first words you say – to set the mood – we call that establishing rapport – something to break the ice .

But right after that, you need to “tell them what you’re going the tell them.” I call it “opening the window” … looking out on your presentation to tell your audience what you see ahead.

The first step in your opening is to describe the SITUATION, opportunity or problem. Why are you here? What’s the challenge that you’re all facing?

Next, present your CREDENTIALS. In other words, why do you have the knowledge or experience to propose the right solution? Way too often we forget this step.

Then present your SOLUTION. However, just summarize it here. In most cases, you should also tell them what you’re going to ask them to do at the end of the presentation. What is the action you want them to take? You don’t want to surprise them at the end. Being persuasive is not about surprises.

Finally, present your AGENDA. Tell them what points you’re going to cover in the body of your presentation to support your solution. And keep it short – because what you’re doing is setting them up for the support arguments – it’s “a window” on where you’re going to take them.

4 steps – logical AND persuasive.

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