In its simplest form, the art of presentation is knowing how to pass along information to other people in a clear and effective manner. This is more than enough to make it a skill worth mastering when you have a message or an idea you want to spread, though! The number of different professions that can benefit from good presentation skills is virtually endless. Wouldn’t it be useful to be able to present your ideas in a more persuasive way?
Even the most casual of presentations is ultimately aimed at persuading the audience to do something, even it’s simply to listen. You can do a better job of presenting by keeping these key points in mind when you speak. If you do your best to accomplish these goals, you’ll go a long way towards swaying the people you’re speaking to.
* Capture your audience’s attention
* Create a sense of urgency
* Propose a solution
* Give an example of your solution
* Create a plan of action
Opening up your presentation with a real attention-getter is important, even if you have to be provocative. An obscure fact, a hard-to-believe statistic — anything that will make them sit up and pay attention. In most presentation situations, you’ll be speaking to people who have some familiarity with your topic. Starting with something surprising is a great way to shake up your audience and get them ready for something outside their preconceived notions.
Most good presenters go on to couch their speech in terms of a problem that needs to be solved. This is the building of a sense of urgency. Many speakers concentrate on the dangers of inaction in order to motivate the audience towards action. The relative importance of the action that will be proposed doesn’t matter; what is important is that the audience accepts the need to act.
With an attentive audience and a sense of urgency, it’s time for you to articulate your ideas. Remember the structure that has gone before; you need to offer your thoughts couched in the form of a solution to the problem. Keep your solutions grounded; you want to inspire your audience towards concrete steps they can take rather than vague generalities. Solutions need to be rational and persuasive but above all practical.
Vagueness is the mortal enemy of persuasive communication. Presenters who deliver a fully-formed solution to the audience along with details of how to enact it and facts to back it up will sway a lot of listeners. This is the portion of the presentation where visual aids like slide presentations, photos, videos, diagrams, and charts can make a difference. Keep the momentum of your presentation up, though; don’t give your audience more details than are absolutely necessary.
The close of any successful presentation is intended to inspire audience participation and collaboration on your solution. This is one reason why many successful presentations end by soliciting the opinions of the audience. Notice that all of the points outlined above relate to focusing your audience on your preferred course of action. If you have made a persuasive presentation, you should have an audience of supporters who are eager to assist you.