How do you create a persuasive presentation?
I was reading an article about Steve Coogan, the man behind the fictional radio DJ Alan Partridge.
Coogan said that he avoids social media at all costs:
“I’m too opinionated and I’m worried I will get sucked into a vortex of negativity and arguments”.
Arguments rarely change a person’s mind. People become more deeply rooted in their own beliefs and viewpoints when you tell them they are wrong.
Instead of arguing, Coogan prefers to tell stories. He creates characters and situations that allow him to make his points to his audience.
“If you can tell a story, you can get people to question their beliefs. We all have to face the notion that we are wrong and consider the possibility that the opinions we have are not watertight”.
Why do I care?
When delivering any presentation, whether it be for business, fun, or even just to get your children to tidy their toys: your aim will often be to persuade them.
Each person to whom you present will hold a worldview.
Some of those people will share part or all of your world view.
If they already share your worldview, it is much easier to get them to take action on your message.
If they don’t share your worldview, you need to convince them of your vision before they will budge.
The next three persuasion tools will help you to get the audience on your side before you ask them to take action.
If you want to improve your public speaking skills, you will need to make your presentations irresistible.
These tools will show you the way.
Persuasive Presentation Tool 1: understand your audience
In my past life as a salesman, I always faced the struggle of winning customers over when they had received bad service in the past.
They assumed that I was just going to do exactly the same thing as all the others: promise them the moon, and then deliver them a block of cheese.
I knew that I couldn’t ask them to buy it until I had them fully on side.
So, one of the first steps I would always take with a new customer is to ask how their experience had been with other salespeople they had dealt with.
It was only when I understood my audience and all of the bad things that had happened to them that I was able to move on to the next part: understanding their triggers.
What’s a trigger?
A trigger is something that makes a customer buy or something that increases their buying temperature: their desire to buy.
I would remember if they mentioned anything that had gone wrong in the past.
Then I would find out what they really want from their suppliers: great service; fast delivery; or expert advice.
This information allowed me to get a three-dimensional blueprint of my customer’s worldview, and from it, I could begin my presentation.
Always remember before any presentation, you should know who you’re speaking to; who is sat in your audience.
If you are aware of who they are then you are infinitely more likely to understand their triggers.
What turns them on and what turns them off?
Once you have this in the bag, we need to follow up by pacing their reality.
Persuasive Presentation Tool 2: pace their current experience with the FEEL, FELT, FOUND method.
The majority of public speakers, presenters, and salespeople will try to cram their pitch or message down their customer’s throat.
“Buy from me!!!” seems to be the message, but people don’t want to buy anything from you.
They have no reason to.
There are a million other opportunities to buy.
People don’t buy because you want them to.
They buy because they feel an emotional desire, deep inside.
So, here’s what I would do to get them on my side and increase their buying temperature before delivering my persuasive presentation.
I would first pace their current experience and tell them I understood how they FEEL given the circumstances they had explained, including all of the different reasons they had given to me as to why they have lost their trust in sales people.
I would then go on to tell them that I would have FELT the same if I were in their position and explain other stories about customers who had been affected in the same way.
Finally, I would suggest that those same customers FOUND that by changing their supplier to someone who holds integrity as their highest value and has many testimonials to prove it, they could be assured that they were in safe hands.
This seems incredibly simple, and it is.
The fact that you are pacing the customer’s current experience shows you understand them. It’s a form of super rapport.
This works in any situation, not just sales.
If your teenage daughter wants to give up football practice because she doesn’t feel she’s making progress, you can use this technique.
Recount one of your own stories of fighting through a difficult time to motivate her.
Remember to use feel, felt, found the next time you are delivering any presentation or speech.
Politicians use it all the time.
They tell you they understand how you feel, that other people in their constituency felt the same, but that those same people found in them a leader who could provide change.
Now that you’re aware of the feel, felt, found technique you will notice it everywhere, but more importantly: you can use it yourself.
The final step is the most important one and is what everything else is leading up to.
Persuasive Presentation Tool 3: ask for the order
I have coached many international TEDx speakers to deliver speeches and persuasive presentations, but I’m often shocked to find that they don’t ask the audience to take action.
They don’t understand their audience or pace their reality.
Then, after boring the audience for 18 minutes they just say thank you.
EVERY speech or presentation needs to include a CALL TO ACTION.
This is the first step that your audience will take: their response to your presentation is all that matters.
They will forget 95% of what you said, but if you build in them a strong enough desire to change, and a clear path to action they won’t need to remember every word because the message will have stuck.
If you’ve taken the first two steps and then don’t ask your audience to buy, or change in some way you’ve wasted your time and theirs.
I’m not talking about being a pushy salesperson: forcing the sale. I’m just saying: lay it out there.
Make it easy for them to understand what you are asking for:
‘You need a new supplier who understands your business. I can help you.’;
‘Please, clear your desk at the end of every workday’;
‘Can I take you out on a date?’
Stop pussy-footing around the elephant in the room.
Jump on that elephant and get ready for the stampede.
It’s scary at first to ask your audience to take action, and it’ll feel forced to begin with.
But, with time, you’ll learn to LOVE that final moment of power: when you remain silent and await their answer.
So, remember: when all that work is done understanding your audience, pacing their reality and building credibility, do not forget that final step of asking for what you want.
Otherwise, you’re simply watching an opportunity go by.
There are very few people in this world who will agree with everything you say.
The majority of people will hold their own view, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but if you can understand their view, and pace their current reality you have an infinitely better chance of changing their mind.
Once you are in the driving seat and taking them on a journey you’ll need to decide at what point it is time to ask them to continue the journey with you as a partner rather than an audience member. Ask them to take action
If you want to develop the skills of public speaking and presenting that I’ve just discussed then come and join one of our public speaking courses in Manchester.
Not only will you create a persuasive presentation for any occasion, but you’ll meet some incredible people who can help you on your journey.
We are holding our Speak and Present course in Manchester in October, November, and December. I want to see you there.
So come and join us and heed my call to action.
If you need any more information then you can always contact us or visit us on your favourite social media channel.