Let’s talk about the boss. I know, not your favourite subject. You know how your boss wants the details in 30 seconds or less. “Cut the small talk … give me the results.”
Well, most of the time, so does your audience. Now, what I mean by this is that your audience doesn’t want to be left guessing about what point you’re trying to make. They will be if you start with all the details first – or if you begin with a story that meanders around the main point.
So, let’s say I want to get my boss to purchase a new office printer, as the current one is slow and constantly breaks down. That’s what this particular presentation is about. I have three points, or reasons, why we need a new printer.
The short video below lays out the persuasive structure and I’ll also explain it in more detail in print.
Here’s a scenario to consider.
I begin my presentation with point number one. I might start with a maintenance chart and say, “Here’s a chart showing how much money we spent over six months getting maintenance to fix the printer.” Then I might go on to show three new printers and their prices, along with the features of each.
In a persuasive business presentation, all points will likely have the same structure; an opening statement (your point) and then the details follow.
My boss would likely be thinking … “Could we just get to the point?” – the one I’m slowly building up to. You see, I haven’t really told the boss what point I’m trying to make by showing all these costs.
Bosses don’t have time to wait for you to explain the details and THEN get to the point. We need to get to the point first.
So here’s the point: “A new printer will pay for itself in 6 months through increased productivity and lower maintenance costs.” That’s my opening statement – my point. It needs to be first. And it needs to be about what the boss is interested in … productivity and costs. Aha … now, I’ve got the boss listening!
My details or background would follow. I would then show graph of maintenance costs, a receipt, and maybe a graph of outside printing costs, the printers, etc.
Each point of your presentation should have the same simple structure. Make your point first and then follow up with the details (or evidence) to support the specific point you’re making; not the other way around.
Your audience, particularly if it has a boss of any kind, will thank you for being so organized. You’ll score big points.