Master Your Message Blog

The Logic of Persuasive Presentations is Simple

Structuring a persuasive presentation is not difficult if you keep a 3 step process in mind: PSW (Problem, Solution, Why). This structure works for any persuasive conversation; it works in business letters; it works in a telephone conversation with your significant other. It’s the way we think.

Three steps. Here it is again with an explanation:

1. Problem. State what the problem is. It could also be an “opportunity” or “situation.” It has to do with change of some sort.

2. Solution. After identifying the problem, you want to go directly to the solution. Now, you might tend to think that you need a story first about how you came to the solution. Wrong. That comes later. In today’s fast-paced world, we don’t have time for long stories or your process for getting to the solution. We want answers. Faster the better. So, state the solution.

3. Why. Here comes the meat. But it isn’t going to be about how you arrived at the solution or who was involved or the time it took. Rather, it’s all about benefits. Why is this solution the best one? What does it do for you your audience, or listener, or whoever it is you’re addressing.

Now, that’s really all there is to it. It’s certainly all you need in a conversation. In a longer, more formal presentation, there will need to be a closing, which is just a reminder of the problem and the solution and a, “When do we get started?” call-to-action line. But the essence of any presentation are those three elements: PSW.

Problem. Solution. Why.

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