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Sunday 23rd February 11:13

Presentation Skills: The Art of Persuasion

presentingwithskillWhenever you give a presentation to a business audience, you are embarking on some form of persuasion. It doesn't matter if it is a product or service or just an idea. You want your audience to accept it and take some form of action to show that they have accepted it. Here are 3 techniques that will help you in persuading them to your point of view.

1. The 5 P's of Persuasion

One way to persuade an audience is to build your case with the "5 P's" model. This starts with outlining the Present situation and Problem; moves on to Possibilities and their Pros and cons; and ends with your favoured Proposal. Here, in summary form, is how you would persuade an audience to accept an office move.

"Space is now extremely limited in all the offices (Present Situation). The result is cramped conditions for staff, inefficient working and deteriorating customer service (Problem). There are three options: to cut back on the workload, to extend, or to move (Possibilities). It is not possible to cut back due to the legislative timetable. The building is at its physical limits (Pros and Cons). This leaves moving as the only viable option. We need to carry out a feasibility study urgently into moving to Windsor Street (Proposal)."

2. The 12 Most Persuasive Words

All audiences are different, but all audiences respond positively when they hear certain words. To find out what these words were, a group of students from Harvard University in America analysed the words that were used most frequently in successful sales talks. And here is their list:
1. discovery
2. easy
3. health
4. guarantee
5. love
6. new
7. money
8. results
9. proven
10. safety
11. save
12. you.

If you're planning on giving a persuasive talk, see how many of these you can sneak in and notice the difference on your audience.

3. Use the "Aikido" Approach

Franklin Roosevelt said, "To persuade an audience, find out what they believe in and then tell them they're right." That's another way of saying, don't argue with an audience or go in the same direction as they're going. It's also known as "intellectual aikido" where you use an opponent's strength to increase your own strength in the same way as an aikido master overcomes an opponent. Here is an example of doing it the wrong way and then the right way:

Not: "I know some of you think this could be a waste of money, but you're wrong...
But: "I know some of you think this could be a waste of money and you're absolutely right! The easiest thing in the world is to under-utilise our products. That's why we have an intensive training, back-up and after-sales service..."

Practically every presentation you give to a business audience involves some form of persuasion. Use these 3 techniques and you will have your audience eating out of the palm of your hand.

More Resources on the Art of Persuasion

Here is a link to further downloadable resources from ManageTrainLearn on using the art of persuasion in presentations.

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