You’ve been asked to speak to a group of people. You’ll propose a course of action and attempt to convince, or persuade, them to adopt it. You’ll argue that your recommendation represents an improvement over current practice.
Where do you start? In other words, before you sit down to put together your presentation, what do you need to know?
I’ve found six topics useful for creating an effective persuasive presentation. Consider them before you sit down to outline your talk, develop your PowerPoint slides, etc., by reflecting on related questions, as follows:
- Background: What problem you are attempting to address? Why are you doing so now?
- The issue: What change are you proposing? Provide as much detail as possible on what’s involved. What arguments will you make to support your proposal? What evidence will you use to support each argument?
- Role of the presenter: What qualifies you to deliver the talk on this topic? What is your relationship to the members of the audience (see next topic)?
- Description of the audience: Who will be in your audience? What are their roles? What is their connection to the topic of your talk? Are they likely to be for, neutral towards, or against your proposal?
- Arguments in support of your proposal: Why should audience members support your proposal? Identify as many reasons as possible.
- Potential objections to your proposal: Why might audience members oppose your proposal? What arguments would they make? What evidence can you present to counter their objections?
Respond carefully to each of these prompts. You’ll then be well on your way to delivering a successful persuasive speech.