According to the dictionary, persuasion is “the action or fact of persuading someone or of being persuaded to do or believe something.” We’ve all been influenced at one point or another through persuasive communication techniques, whether it was to try something new, make a purchase, or challenge an opinion. While the art of persuasion can apply to many different aspects of your life, we’re most interested in helping you become a persuasive presenter. If you’re a persuasive speaker, you’re convincing your audience of a topic or inspiring them to follow through with a call to action. It means your words are backed with conviction, and your audience feels it. Ultimately, being a persuasive presenter means you are a successful one. And we’ve got the persuasive communication ideas to help.
There are six different buckets of presentations— informative, instructive, persuasive, motivational, decision-making, or progress. Regardless of the type, and the contents of your deck, all presentations should be influential and compelling. It doesn’t matter if you’re sharing a pitch deck, a budget proposal, or a marketing plan, If you’re not persuading your audience into action, it’s all for naught. Luckily, persuasive communication techniques are easier than you think.
Keep these three tips for persuasive speeches in mind for your next meeting or pitch.
Make the first 30 seconds of your presentation count. Amateur presenters will waste their first 30 seconds with an introduction or an agenda—both of which are things that could be slides on the screen behind you while you talk about something more relevant. Instead, your first 30 seconds should be spent diving into your big ideas. Hook your audience with your story from the beginning with your persuasive communication techniques. Once you have secured their attention you can elaborate on your key points throughout the duration of the presentation.
It’s also worth noting that you should decide on your story before you even consider creating your slides. It’s important to structure your thoughts before you think about how you’ll present them. Your message should talk about the problem you’re solving, and how you plan to solve it. Is there a gap in the market that your product fills? Is there a need for your service? What sets you apart? Why are you passionate about your topic? That’s your story, so tell it.
While storytelling is the essence of your presentation—and should be your starting point—your presentation design needs to be thoughtful and intentional, too. In other words: avoid frankendecks. Use a professional, on-brand design and keep said design consistent throughout the entire deck. Everything down to your colors and font choices matter. In Beautiful.ai we make it easy to nail the presentation design so that you can present something brilliant (and, well, beautiful). Our smart slide templates take on the burden of design and automatically adjust using best-practices from the experts as you add in your content. This means your deck will always look clean, modern, and professional— in a sliver of the time it would take in PowerPoint.
It’s no secret that people respond better to images than they do boring blocks of text— it’s just the way our brains are wired. Use that to your advantage and use visual aids to support your story. Not only will visual metaphors capture the attention of your audience, it will help them to retain the information you’re telling them. We recognize the importance of visual assets, which is why we offer an image library full of hundreds of thousands of free stock photos, icons, and logos for you to choose from.
Of course, none of the above matters if your delivery falls short. Get your audience involved, and keep them engaged. What does this mean for your presentation? Treat it as a dialogue. Instead of reading a carefully crafted speech off of a notecard on the podium, try having a genuine conversation with your audience. While you want to tell your story with conviction and passion, you also need to build trust with those listening. The easiest way to gain their trust is to be relevant, relatable, reliable, and real.
At the end of the day, your call to action (CTA) is how you can measure the success of your presentation. Were you persuasive enough to inspire them to take action? Leave your audience with something meaningful before hitting them with a CTA. Sign-off with a bold statistic or quote that they will remember instead of a stale “thank you”. If something you said sticks with them after they leave, they’re a lot more likely to return to your CTA down the road. At the end of the day if you taught them something new, inspired them to take action, or drove them to make a purchase (or investment), that means you mastered the art of persuasion— congratulations!