Executive Spotlight: How To Create & Deliver A Persuasive Presentation

Professional woman successfully gives a persuasive presentation at work
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As a professional, you'll likely need to give a presentation at some point in your career. Good presentation skills can help you succeed at work, no matter your position. Therefore, everyone should know how to create and deliver a persuasive presentation.

We recently asked our executives for their expert advice on creating and delivering a persuasive presentation.

Here are their responses...

Ana Smith, Talent Architect & Global Learning Strategist

Presentations can be very scary! Especially if they are being delivered to a new audience, have news that may not be as simple to digest, or if there is a lot at stake for the presenter, to name a few...

In my experience, these are some high-level key tips on how to create and deliver a persuasive presentation:

1. Know your audience.

The first step to creating a persuasive presentation is to know your audience. What are their interests? What are their needs? What are their objections to your message? Once you know your audience, you can tailor your presentation to address their concerns and to persuade them to your point of view.

2. Have a clear message.

What is the one thing you want your audience to remember after your presentation? Make sure your message is clear and concise. Don't try to cover too much ground in your presentation. Focus on one main point and make sure you support it with evidence.

3. Use strong evidence.

Your audience is more likely to be persuaded by your message if you can support it with strong evidence. This evidence can come in the form of statistics, expert testimony, or personal stories. The more evidence you can provide, the stronger your argument will be.

4. Be passionate about your topic.

Your audience is more likely to be persuaded by your message if you are passionate about it. If you don't believe in your message, it will be difficult to convince others to believe in it too. So, let your passion show!

5. Practice, practice, practice!

The more you practice your presentation, the more confident you will be when you deliver it. Practice in front of a mirror, with a friend, or with a group of people. The more you practice, the more natural your presentation will seem and the more persuasive you will be.

6. Be yourself.

Don't try to be someone you're not when you deliver your presentation. Be yourself and let your personality shine through. Your audience will be more likely to connect with you if you are authentic.

7. Connect with your audience.

Make eye contact with your audience, smile, and use gestures to engage them. Ask questions and get them involved in the conversation. The more engaged your audience is, the more likely they are to be persuaded by your message.

8. End with a call to action.

Tell your audience what you want them to do after your presentation. Do you want them to sign a petition, donate money, or simply think about your message? Whatever it is, make sure you tell them what you want them to do.

Ana Smith helps people & organizations achieve their full talent potential by developing and co-creating people strategies and customized solutions, and turning them into impactful outcomes and collaborative relationships, using coaching as the "red thread."

Andrea Markowski, Marketing Executive

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Giving a persuasive presentation can be difficult. With the help of neuroscience, here are three tips to steer you in the right direction.

Neuroscience tells us that humans have an aversion to loss and a fear of the unknown. As long as we are reasonably happy and feel safe with our current choices, we probably won’t change.

For that reason, the first tip for an effective persuasive speech is to describe how the status quo is bad—or even dangerous. For example, maybe the current approach is too expensive, time-consuming, or unsustainable.

But you can’t just list these reasons in the speech and call it a day. That probably won’t work.

That brings us to the second tip: use storytelling to elicit an emotional response. Why? Because humans are not logical creatures. We’d like to think we are, but 90-95% of the time, we actually make decisions based on emotions that we then justify with facts.

So, start your presentation with an emotional story about how the status quo is unfavorable. But that’s not all!

The third tip: tell this story from the viewpoint of the audience. By seeing themselves in the story, it will catch and hold their attention while also being memorable. This is due to our selfish human brains—because, yes, we are wired to think mainly about ourselves in order to keep us alive.

There are additional neuroscience persuasion hacks, but emotional storytelling about how the current approach is unfavorable, told from the audience’s point of view, is an excellent starting point to sway opinions.

Andrea Markowski is a marketing director with specializations in strategy development, digital tactics, design thinking, and creative direction. She has superpowers in presentations and public speaking.

Mark Taylor, Product & Operations Executive

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Some thoughts:

  • Use a one or two-page deck with five to six bullet points per page and one maybe two short sentences per bullet. (It’s not a script…)
  • Look the audience in the eye and tell a story that you’ve trimmed of excess through sufficient practice to retain spontaneity.
  • You are much closer to the content than they are. Even if you’ve spoken to the audience before about this topic, assume they remember nothing. (“Skip Intro")
  • If you have 30 mins allocated, aim for 15-20 minutes of you talking. You want questions as you speak (it shows people are engaged).
  • If the headline of your presentation is expected, lead with that headline.
  • If the results of what you are presenting will be a surprise to the audience, concisely show the work and logic building up to the headline. Leave more time for questions!

Mark Taylor has 20+ years of risk, technology, and product management experience working in global and regional financial services firms in the UK and the U.S. He's managed teams of 40+, successfully addressed 100+ regulatory issues, and has saved companies $15M+.

Carla Biasi, Personal Stylist

Professional gives a persuasive presentation at work

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The first step is to know your audience when delivering a presentation. Consider the demographics of the group, along with their level of experience and knowledge of the topic. This will help you create a very interesting and targeted message.

Secondly, take note of where the presentation will be held, the time frame you are working around, and what extra materials you will need. Know the layout of the room and try to see it beforehand.

Lastly, HAVE FUN! There's nothing better than having a presenter that is thoroughly enjoying themselves and sharing their passion for what they are presenting. Don't worry about messing up. No one will know but you. Engage with the audience! Ask questions and encourage feedback. Let them have an interactive experience. Smile, smile, smile!

Carla Biasi is a personal stylist living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She currently has her own business and works part-time at an upscale women's boutique and as a virtual and kit stylist for a women’s specialty brand.

Michael Willis, Sports Business Operations Executive

Motivated employees give a persuasive presentation at work

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As an executive, you always want your messages to be clear and well-detailed. This might be your only opportunity to pitch your ideas, so you want an accurate and attention-grabbing presentation. This calls for a plan!

On the Creation Side

You can’t persuade an audience that isn’t listening. Developing a “hook” to draw the audience in would be the best way to grab attention. You are creating a fundamental purpose or a “why” we are all in the room; this is essential. I like to confine the critical message topic to a single sentence.

From that “single sentence,” I like to build a point-by-point argument detailing my vision. This is where my words and body language will project credibility.

On the Visual Side

This is my favorite part of the presentation. My favorite visual tool is PowerPoint. With a PowerPoint presentation, I can use financial data to create infographics, pie charts, videos, and graphs. These types of visuals can tell a very compelling story. I can appeal to an audience’s emotions and sense of logic with visuals.

Lastly, I must make my closing as memorable as the beginning statement.

Michael Willis has 18+ years of experience working with accounting & sports organizations and has managed P&Ls of $10M - $125M+ with budgets of $3M-$50M+. He worked for the NFL for 22 1/2 years, mainly with the game officials working on the financial/accounting side of the business.

Lisa Perry, Global Marketing Executive

Woman gives a persuasive presentation at work

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Creating and delivering a persuasive presentation requires careful planning and preparation. The following steps can help you create an effective and engaging presentation that can inspire your audience.

First, determine your purpose. This involves identifying what you want your audience to do, think, or feel as a result of your presentation. This will help you to focus your content and create a clear message that aligns with your goals.

Second, know your audience. Understanding your audience's needs, interests, and concerns is essential for creating a presentation that resonates with them. This will help you to tailor your message to their specific needs and preferences.

Third, craft a clear message. Your presentation should have a clear and concise message that is easy to understand and remember. Use storytelling techniques and real-life examples to bring your message to life and make it more relatable.

Fourth, use effective visuals and delivery techniques. Visual aids such as slides and videos can help you to illustrate your points and keep your audience engaged. Effective delivery techniques such as eye contact, body language, and vocal variety can help you to connect with your audience and convey your message more effectively.

By following these steps, you can create and deliver a persuasive presentation that engages your audience and inspires them to take action.

Lisa Perry helps companies build leadership brands, driving loyal customers & delivering profitability. She does this through a process that builds brands consumers love. Her goal is to help companies develop, monetize, and grow their brands.

How do you create and deliver a persuasive presentation? Join the conversation inside Work It Daily's Executive Program.

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