Or there’s a tone of bewilderment, accompanied by the question, “Why do I even need one?”
In truth, maybe you don’t. If you’re delivering a presentation that’s main purpose is to impart information and has no other goal, you probably don’t. But with a persuasive presentation, your strategy is key.
Your strategy is the most important contributor to your success.
Persuasive presentations are sales presentations. They’re corporate presentations designed to change behaviors, or attitudes. They’re any presentation with an objective of getting someone to do, think, or believe something after the presentation is over.
The most important element in determining success (other than structure, content, and delivery), is strategy. Now, you might be thinking, “Well then, strategy is a very small part of ‘the mix’ then.” No, not at all. In fact, those three aspects of a persuasive presentation are determined by the strategy.
Strategy is the “how.”
Let’s “peel back the onion” and take a look at how I might develop a strategy for a presentation in three steps. Before we get started, there’s a rule of human nature we need to buy into:
People don’t do anything unless it’s for their own benefit.
Take eating junk food. In most cases, unless they believe they’re doing themselves harm nutritionally, they’re not going to change habits. So it is with most anything in life. To change behavior, you have to change belief.
It’s equally true in a corporate setting. You can dictate change with questionable success, or you can get your audience to believe it’s a better idea. It’s obvious which method will result in lasting behavioral change.
Step 1: This is the first step in developing any persuasive presentation. You must ask yourself …
“What does my audience have to believe in order for them to do what I want them to do?”
That’s a very powerful question because it dives deep into the core objective of your presentation. Write down the answer; it’s really important. But we’re only part way there in determining the content.
Step 2: The second question is,
“What are the reasons they will resist changing their belief?” In other words, “What concerns do they have?”
This question is powerful because it determines the content of your presentation. You need to concentrate your key points of your presentation on countering the those concerns. Nothing else is more important. Because, if you can counter all their concerns, you’ll change their mind (in other words, their belief). If you don’t, you won’t—simple as that.
The strategy is how you’re going to do it.
Step 3: Step three is determining your strategy. How are you going to use your knowledge of your audience to mount a persuasive presentation that targets and counters those concerns?
Are you going to use a powerful story, statistics, an emotional appeal from a previous client, etc? Your strategy can extend to where you’re going to give the presentation and the tools you’re going use. It may include who’s going to be in the room, the information they get before the presentation, and the order in which you make your points.
So, you see there’s a lot to strategy. It’s the key to being highly successful in your persuasive presentations. The more time to spend on these types of details, the more success you’re likely to have.
What’s your strategy for your next persuasive presentation?