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Ten tips for a persuasive presentation

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Those who are persuasive speakers have a great deal of influence, which usually comes hand in hand with a flourishing, profitable business.

So how do you become more persuasive when presenting? Here are ten tips…

1. The purpose: Be very clear about the purpose of your presentation. If you don’t know what you want your presentation to achieve, don’t blame the audience for looking confused or asking you what it was about.

2. With sincerity: Be authentic. Do you engage your audience with passion and conviction about a subject which interests them? Can you believably sell its benefits?

3. With authority: This comes from your own experience and reputation in your chosen area. Be sure to inform your audience of your speciality and qualifications in a brief introduction before your presentation.

4. Use logic: This can be achieved in a number of ways; a) linear reasoning and b) fact-based thinking (including statistics and credible sources).

5. Be ‘you focussed’: Using the word ‘you’ instead of ‘I’ or ‘me’, makes your presentation more personal and conversational. It shifts the attention away from you and ensures that the audience feels that you are speaking to them individually.

6. Speak to the heart: Make a point, then tell a story. Audiences love personal stories and anecdotes, because they engage our emotions.

7. Empathy: Get your presentation off to a flying start by researching your audience. Who are they? What are their needs and expectations? Take some time to mingle with your audience. If possible, ensure the seating is arranged to facilitate maximum participation, as close to the speaking area as possible.

8. Add some humour: Gentle humour is a very effective device in engaging and connecting with an audience – especially a little self-deprecating humour. Eliminate gaps in your audience by getting your audience to sit closer together. Laughter causes a ripple effect.

9. The handshake: When you stand in front of an audience, pause and smile. A smile is like your personal handshake with the audience. It relaxes you and the audience, and the audience will reciprocate and be open to your ideas.

10. Confidence: Your presentation begins from the minute you leave your seat to walk to the podium. Walking with your head up and back straight will convey to the audience that you are a speaker who is confident with your subject matter. A confident speaker is a persuasive speaker.

Christina Hession is a member of Toastmasters International

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