Will Your Presentation Influence A Decision?
Date: July 13, 2016
Planning a presentation is not an easy task and can be a lengthy one at that. There are many factors which can influence whether your speech goes down a treat or ends up being an absolute disaster.
If you’re reading this and haven’t yet given your almighty speech, then you’re doing things in the right order. You cannot rush the preparation of a successful speech.
The ultimate goal is to have the audience admire you, gleefully listen to your words and then hit right in their hearts with your words. But more importantly, you want your speech to evoke emotion and a definite conclusion.
So how will your presentation influence your audience’s thinking and how can you choose words for the best effect?
Understand The Objectives Yourself
You love to speak and find it much more giving to inspire others than sit at a desk or lead an unproductive life. There’s an overwhelming yearning to change people’s lives and leave a positive tattoo on earth.
These are some of the best – if not, the best – traits a speaker can have; they care about who their addressees are.
Once understanding that you want to influence someone’s thoughts and not just be the entertainment for 30 minutes, it’s time to recognise what it is exactly that you want people to take away with them.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What Is The Point Of Your Presentation?
Everything needs to have purpose, otherwise it vanishes into thin air or has presence of a tumbleweed.
Think back to when you first chose your topic. Why did you want to talk about these issues? (Other than just finding it interesting).
The best speakers are those who have the audience at the heart of every topic, sentence and even word. You cannot be selfish when delivering your speech and always know that people may digest what you’re saying. In which case, never lie or invent ideas to sound intelligent or win new friendships, as it will only lead to them distrusting you.
What Do You Want Your Audience To Do After Your Presentation?
It’s all well and good them feeling motivated and energised by your talk, but that does little else than fill the moment. To genuinely influence a decision, you have to affect your listeners’ mind after your presentation too.
Think about their car ride home. They’re summarising your speech with their passenger. Criticising and complimenting your ability to leave them with something.
What is it you want them to be talking about on the way home? Or when people ask for a verdict on your presentation, how will they review you? It’s much easier to answer these two questions in depth, than to become so overwhelmed by the bigger picture.
You can design your presentation in such a way that you genuinely do affect their thoughts and habits the next day, month and following years. Firstly, it has to be on a topic that is relevant and they care about. For example, talking to graduates about the job economy is extremely pertinent to them.
That’s step number one fixed.
Next, you have to focus on the future and the positives. Think about when you watch the news. Nine times out of ten, the reporters are covering a tragedy. You feel disheartened, angry and most of all… useless when you turn the TV off.
You’re being told about so much devastation but there’s nothing you can do about it; that’s such a horrible feeling.
So even if you feel the need to discuss a negative situation, don’t leave people feeling helpless and demotivated. Give them tips and advice on how to solve a situation and look towards the future.
Here are Shapiro International, we interview and connect with many speakers from all around the world who have suffered calamities. Their worlds have been torn apart and they’ve had to start from scratch.
But you will never find one of our speakers with a woe-is-me attitude to their listeners. Though they’ve been through the worst events imaginable, they’ve taken action and changed their lives.
Thus, their audience feel better about themselves and are ready to look towards happiness and success, rather than feeling helpless. Give your listeners hope and inspiration to walk out of the room feeling like a new person. Words are that powerful!
Putting Your Ideas And Theories Into Practice
We have given you the steps to influence a decision, though putting it into practice is hard work.
At the back of your mind, always have the answers to the questions above. That way you won’t ever lose sight of the meaning and purpose of your speech.
It’s easy to go off track and talk about what you care about and what matters to you, but that’s selfish and a waste of time – if it means nothing to listeners.
Present in front of others and even record yourself and watch it back to listen to your content. Does it make sense? Is it personal or does it sound like something copied from a textbook?
Once you’ve analysed the ‘meat’ of your speech, focus on your body language and emotion with speaking. Do you exude honesty and genuine charisma or does everything look and feel forced?
Of course, you will be nervous, but rather than focusing on the hundreds of people in front of you, concentrate on what your heart is telling you and follow it.
It’s not easy, but with perseverance and practice, it becomes possible. Don’t forget to ask for feedback from listeners to, or contact the events organisation for a review on your content.
Speaking to actual members of the audience is a lot more useful, than just guessing how it went.
Good luck and stay focused.