4 Techniques for Non-Salesy Persuasions in Any Business Presentation
The essential elements of persuasion – ethos, logos and pathos – have long been known. Knowing those elements, however, doesn’t fully tell you how to use those to maximize your impact. To complicate the issue, often presentations occur in contexts where audiences don’t want to “be sold” or through media that may influence how we communicate.
The good news is that you don’t need a Ph.D. in persuasion to apply a few basic principles in presentations where you need to influence an outcome. Better yet, these techniques can be used by anyone in a way you – and your audience – can feel positively about.
Sequence your ideas in a brain-friendly manner
Getting your audience from “here” to “there” is more than just appealing to both sides of the brain. It’s more than simply providing a set of instructions. You need to tap into the brain’s desire to resolve cognitive dissonance with a path that makes sense to the brain.
Action idea: Set up (and resolve) a tension between the current situation and the desired future state with a clear path for how to get there. Watch Advance Your Pipeline: Influence Decision Makers with Persuasive Presentations and be sure to grab the easy-to-follow template.
Give a utilitarian gift
People tend to want to return the favor when you give them something. To add a fuller context to this principle of reciprocity, however, consider going beyond simply engendering their goodwill by making that “gift” something that is useful in the context of what action you would like them to take.
Action idea: Implicitly or explicitly add the words “how to” to something you give to make it practically actionable. This might be the whole presentation (like this good example from my friends at BrightTALK) or a point within the presentation.
Ask a question that forces the brain to respond (if not agree)
Not all types of presentations are interactive, but all could benefit from asking a question. Asking a question invites (demands!) a response, and done well, getting someone to say “yes” with a point in the presentation increases the likelihood that they’ll say respond positively to the point of the presentation.
Action idea: Ask, “Am I right?” after saying something you expect your audience will agree with. For an excellent study of this technique, watch Sir Ken Robinson’s most popular TED talk of all time.
Paraphrase your repetitiveness
Repetition is good for clarity, especially when you want someone to remember a key point that you are making. Sometimes, however, that “key point” might be an action (or call-to-action) that could be perceived as salesy.
Action idea: Paraphrase the idea when you repeat it. And if you want to increase its power, do so by repeating the benefit associated with what you are saying. Example: “A persuasive presentation is like a series of stepping stones that leads an audience in a direction. Remember, advancing your pipeline doesn’t have to be salesy to be effective at influencing behavior.”
The bottom line
Offering valuable information is a powerful draw when you want to build an audience, and you will want to entirely deliver on that promise. However, just teaching people doesn’t necessarily help you achieve your objectives.
Presentations don’t have to be salesy to be effective, but they do have to be intentional. Not every technique belongs in every presentation, but when used appropriately, being sequential, useful, interrogative, and repetitive will amplify your influence.
Today’s guest post is by Roger Courville, Chief Aha! Guy at TheVirtualPresenter.com. He’s passionate about helping others communicating relationally in a technologically-extended world, and his upcoming Advance Your Pipeline: Influence Decision Makers with Persuasive Presentations where all participants will receive a template for persuading-without-selling.