Presentation or Speech

Presentation or Speech

Effective Techniques for Delivering a Persuasive Presentation

1. Importance of a Persuasive Presentation

The first key to a good presentation is that it has to be persuasive. A persuasive presentation can come in many forms. It can be a sales pitch, a proposal to the city council, a campaign to raise money for a new heart wing at the hospital, or it could be a proposal for change within the city government. Each of these presentations has to be delivered in a manner that is going to get the listeners to change their minds, take action, or do whatever the presenter is asking of them. One of the reasons why a persuasive presentation is considered to be so important is because without the ability to persuade, the presentation is of no value. This is true in all situations – whether the goal is to educate and influence the class as to choose the best class president or it is a more serious case such as urging a group of cardiologists to start treating patients in a new way. Every speaker believes that what he or she is presenting is the correct way. As such, it is vital to have the ability to persuade the audience so that the audience may take action on the proposal. Without the ability to persuade the audience, there is no use in presenting at all. Good ideas are one thing, but to be able to change other people’s minds is another – and very important – aspect to giving a successful presentation. Another reason why people must practice and eventually master the skills behind giving a good persuasive presentation is because people are inundated with new information all the time. Whether in the form of computer pop-up ads, television infomercials, or even just driving down the street and seeing billboards, people are always trying to sell something. In order to compete, a presentation has to be good and it has to be persuasive. And finally, a good presentation is important not only for what the presenter wants but to build personal capital as well. By being able to present a persuasive argument, presenters can win people over and in turn use that new network of associates to facilitate projects and develop ideas. Because a persuasive presentation is a useful tool in any area of life. Also, it is very important to learn how and practice the skills of giving effective persuasive presentations. These skills can be helpful in many different types of settings – whether the presenter is trying to change a whole government’s way of thinking or simply trying to get her son to eat his vegetables. Making a persuasive presentation helps the presenter to win that pitch and start a lifelong partnership, change a policy within a government, or write a grant for millions of dollars. It could be as small as changing an opinion as to what a group of friends should do that Friday night. So the skills that the presenter will develop and practice today are skills that can truly last a lifetime. Well throughout our lives we all are going to need to have the ability to present or to speak in public about something.

2. Structuring Your Presentation for Maximum Impact

Once you have established a great opening, you will need to structure the main body of your presentation in a way that keeps your audience engaged. It is important to make sure that your audience understands the point of your presentation. To help them, use a signpost or agenda slide so that the audience can see the structure of your presentation at a glance. Try to stick to three or four main points as this is all that most people can take in. If you have a lot to say, think about how you can break it up into two or three shorter presentations which focus on slightly different aspects, or consider producing a longer document that you can send by email. Make sure that your audience will understand each point. In his book ‘The Presentation Coach’, Graham Davies suggests that you imagine your audience is a group of young children. You would not use jargon and overcomplicated language, and you would make sure to explain words that they might not understand. This is good advice; the simpler you can make the content, the more your audience will be able to understand and enjoy your presentation. Ask your audience questions and get them thinking about your topic. This will help to draw them in. Also, by making your presentation interactive, you can avoid a situation where you are just talking ‘at’ the audience. But, be prepared for silence if no one wants to answer your question! And, if time is short, it is better to move on rather than waiting to see if anyone responds. Make your conclusion count. This is the part that people remember so it’s important to finish strongly. Your conclusion should summarize your presentation and remind your audience of your main points. Also, you might want to end with a question, an invitation for your audience to take action, a prediction, a suggestion or a quotation.

3. Engaging Your Audience through Powerful Delivery

The utilization of visual aids is such a way to encourage the imaginative. It can accentuate what is being said, focus the audience’s attention, and is often a great way to help the audience to grasp difficult concepts. When I first introduce visual aids to my students, it was not only the students that found it beneficial; I nearly learn how to use the visual elements to my own advantage when it comes to presenting my persuasive presentations. As we have already learnt, timing is very important in a presentation. I think that in particular where visual aids are concerned, this is especially true. I find that it is good practice to keep the visual aids hidden during a persuasive task or during a section of the presentation and only reveal the visual aid when you come to talk about it. In this way, I am able to control the audience’s focus and help retain their attention. By maintaining eye contact and sustaining the audience’s attention through speech for as long as possible before revealing the visual aid, the impact of the image is maximized. This also means there is a clear and visible link between the speaker and the information being shown on the visual aid; this is a point that the examiner’s mark scheme likes to see. We must select visual aids very carefully as part of our presentation. For example if we go for a PowerPoint presentation, it can add a certain level of professionalism as it looks very structured and that a lot of time and effort has gone into producing it. It is a very clear visual aid and simple to understand. This may be best suited for relaying factual information. On the other hand, we could use something like a video, which can be used to present a different way of looking at things and would be the best choice for an emotive argument. This would be interesting to the audience and it is a powerful visual aid and attention grabber. If potential access to visual aids is something that could enhance the quality of our presentation, we must grasp the opportunity. By doing so, we can assist our performance and help to communicate our persuasive arguments more strongly; this is something of which the audience and presenter can have the full benefit! Using persuasive visual aids really helps.

4. Utilizing Visual Aids to Enhance Your Message

Every presenter ought to consider utilizing visuals to complement the message. Studies indicate that the inclusion of visuals, particularly pictures, can improve learning and recall. It is important to select a visual aid that’s right for the message and the audience. The most commonly used visual aids are computer-based, transparencies, videos, objects, and handouts. Computer-based visual aids provide access to an endless supply of pictures, data, videos, even sounds. On the other hand, transparencies can be used to highlight topics sequentially in line with the flow of the presentation. Objects such as a plant or a machine can be excellent visual aids. Videos are the most powerful aid, especially when showing a complex series of actions or events. Select a specific segment from the video and balance between a live presentation and showing the video. Give out a brief introduction of the video for the audience to be prepared on what they should be watching. Finally, handouts can be given to provide supplementary materials. When using handouts, give them out at the point necessary and if possible, take back the handouts to refocus attention. A presenter must practice with the visual aid because it can turn a good presentation into a great presentation. Each type of visual aid will have to be handled differently. Make sure the audience can see the visuals and explain them as the presenter goes along. Finally, never turn your back on the audience to look at the visual. Always refer to the key points on the visuals and return the audience’s attention back to the presenter.

Utilizing visual aids to enhance your message

5. Overcoming Nervousness and Building Confidence

Similarly, it is perfectly normal to feel nervous. Most of the famous public speakers felt nervous when they first started. The good news is as one progresses and becomes more comfortable with public speaking, the nervous energy turns into confidence and enthusiasm. However, one must first notice and acknowledge that one is nervous and accept that there is nothing wrong with it. One must also keep in mind that nobody expects a speaker to be absolutely perfect. Next, one must realize that effective nervousness actually can work in one’s favor. A low level of anxiety can serve as a source of energy and a boost to a speaker’s enthusiasm. Additionally, one must be well-prepared. If you are well-prepared and have knowledge of your subject and materials, then there is considerably less chance that you are going to be nervous. Furthermore, when you know your topic and materials, you are better able to deal with the unexpected. Lastly, know the room and the audio-visual equipment. If you are not familiar with the place that you will be speaking at, arrive there early so that you can become familiar with the setting. Being familiar with the room and the equipment that you will be using will help to reduce your anxiety and make you feel more comfortable. Confidence, on the other hand, comes from actually doing it, from actually speaking to an audience. Every time you speak, you will become more comfortable and confident in yourself. Also, as you become more relaxed and confident, you will be better able to engage the audience and get your message across in a more powerful and impactful way. By knowing the technique for overcoming nervousness and methods for building confidence, a speaker can turn ineffective behaviors into effective ones. In short, it all comes down to how much effort as well as a commitment that one is willing to put into to overcome nervousness and build confidence for speaking. The more that one practices these methods, the better one will become as a speaker.

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