- Get people to buy into your concepts and take action.
- Make sure your ‘call to action’ is clear and achievable.
Whether you are an engineer, leader or executive, you are involved in convincing others to buy into your concepts and take action. For that reason, you need to be effective at persuasion.
Here are some key considerations when you need to change or reinforce opinions or beliefs.
PERSUADE THEM TO BUY IN, TAKE ACTION
- Get their attention.
- Provide information in a format they will comprehend.
- Convince them by changing and/or reinforcing opinions or beliefs.
- Provide information in a format that can be remembered and relayed to others.
SUCCESSFUL PRESENTERS HAVE:
- Credibility on the subject
- Preparation and practice
- Excellent presentation skills
ANALYZE YOUR AUDIENCE
- What is the audience’s level of knowledge?
- What presentation types will be most effective?
- What supporting information will they best relate to (information sources, statistics, stories, analogies, etc.)?
- What do they agree on now? It can be beneficial to start on common ground.
- What “hot buttons” should I stay away from?
- Should I try to build allies by visiting some audience members beforehand?
- Do I know the names of the attendees, or should I provide name badges so I can call people by name? People like to hear their own names, and this can help build positive rapport.
- Is humor appropriate for the occasion and the audience? If possible, use humor to illuminate points, reduce tension and keep people energized.
- What stories with emotional content can I incorporate to help persuade?
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PRESENTATION MODE
- Discussion without any audio visual tools
- PowerPoint-type presentation
- Flip chart
DON’T CONFUSE THE AUDIENCE
- Develop clear, concise objectives. Have a crystal-clear view of your goal. I find it beneficial to take a business card-sized piece of paper and write: “As a result of this presentation, I want the audience to understand and/or do the following …”
- Roadmap your presentation so that the information is presented in a logical format and is supported by visuals such as a statistical chart, picture, diagram, video, analogy, etc.
It helps if the visuals build on a relatable theme. For example, if I want to persuade people to take a negotiation-skills course, I could use golf as an analogy. The photo of a player teeing off and missing the ball could be used with a headline statement to drive home the point “Failure can get you noticed in a really bad way.” The photo of a grass divot could be a visual for “Expect setbacks; it takes practice.” The golf ball falling into the hole could symbolize “Persistence and practice get results.”
- The presentation should be developed so that audience members have a clear understanding of what the objective is and what the outcomes are going to be.
- Develop your presentation taking into consideration the level of knowledge of the audience. For example, if you are delivering technical information to a non-technical audience, you may want to present information at a level they will understand, or give them the information piece by piece, slowly bringing them into the details and complexity.
- Repeat, summarize and emphasize your points to aid retention.
- Make sure your “call to action” is clear and achievable.
BUILD YOUR CREDIBILITY, LIKABILITY
- Analyze your audience so that you are incorporating information they can best relate to. Illuminating your points with stories or statistics that they cannot perceive will lead to confusion.
- Do not turn up with an unpolished presentation. Practice, practice, practice (out loud).
- Dress professionally and appropriately for the occasion and the audience. Consider dressing slightly better than your audience.
- Use credible facts and statistics that can help demonstrate you have taken the time to research your subject and that you are an expert. Identify the sources of information.