Persuasion and Presentation Preparation

You have to know as much as you possibly can about the people who will comprise your audience. You must uncover what their interests and expectations are. You must also take into consideration where you’ll be speaking, what time of day it will be and what logistical and technical considerations may play a role.

Your whole objective is to effectively and successfully get a specific point across to them. Hence, you must first understand to whom it is you’re presenting and where they’re at, philosophically, in relation to your point. The more information you have at your disposal, the more effective your persuasive attempts will be. Consider the following list of questions when striving to learn more about your audience:

  1. What is their common background or interest that brings them together to hear you speak?
  2. Who are these people as individuals (business professionals, students, mothers, etc.)?
  3. Will your audience tend to be more one gender than the other, or will they be pretty equally mixed?
  4. Do you need to be aware of their political, religious, professional or other associations?
  5. What will their average education and/or income level be?
  6. What topic can you speak about that they will universally care about and understand?
  7. What types of things would they be looking to get out of your message?
  8. In terms of your key point(s), are they likely to agree, disagree or be indifferent?
  9. What is their general age range?
  10. Will they tend to be more conservative or liberal in their life views?
  11. Is this likely to be an easygoing or more demanding type of crowd?
  12. How long will you be likely to keep them engaged? How much time is even permissible?

These types of questions will allow you to customize your presentation to your audience. Obviously, you will not present to a board of college professors in the same way you would address a group of inner-city youth. After you’ve discovered all that you can about your audience, you begin to tailor and customize your message and decide exactly how to present it. This process is a simple formula, really: discover, design and deliver. So, once you know all there is to know about your audience, you must then figure out how to organize your presentation in the most appropriate fashion. Again, when doing so, there is plenty to consider. Think about the following ideas when you are in the “structure and design” mode of your persuasive message:

  1. How much time is allotted for you to speak?
  2. What will the setting be (auditorium, office, classroom, etc.)?
  3. How large will your audience be?
  4. Will you be speaking from a platform in front of a microphone, or will you be sitting in an intimate circle?
  5. What time of day will it be? Will your audience be tired, refreshed, hungry, preoccupied, etc.? Should you/can you consider scheduling a break in your presentation?
  6. Will there be any possible distractions that you can avoid by knowing about them in advance? For example, noise from neighboring rooms, outside distractions, children, traffic volume as people move from one room to another, sunlight producing too much glare, etc.
  7. Can you inspect the presentation venue ahead of time? Where will you present from and what will your audience’s seating situation be?
  8. What equipment will be accessible, if needed, like an overhead projector, a portable microphone, a flip chart, a blackboard or a dry erase board (along with chalk or markers), etc.?
  9. What kind of sound system will be used, if any? Can you come to the venue early to do a sound check and familiarize yourself with the equipment?

Another crucial part of the “design” phase in the discover-design-deliver formula is the crafting of your actual message. What is a good outline for the message itself? The first area of concern is your opening. How do you grab your audience’s interest within the first fifteen to thirty seconds? In this brief window of opportunity, you must also introduce your topic. In other words, what is the issue being discussed?

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Conclusion

Persuasion is the missing puzzle piece that will crack the code to dramatically increase your income, improve your relationships, and help you get what you want, when you want, and win friends for life. Ask yourself how much money and income you have lost because of your inability to persuade and influence. Think about it. Sure you’ve seen some success, but think of the times you couldn’t get it done. Has there ever been a time when you did not get your point across? Were you unable to convince someone to do something? Have you reached your full potential? Are you able to motivate yourself and others to achieve more and accomplish their goals? What about your relationships? Imagine being able to overcome objections before they happen, know what your prospect is thinking and feeling, feel more confident in your ability to persuade. Professional success, personal happiness, leadership potential, and income depend on the ability to persuade, influence, and motivate others.