My Persuasion Framework for Effective Presentations
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My Persuasion Framework for Effective Presentations

This Persuasion Framework is effective in any type of persuasive or solution-oriented meeting. It is designed to gain consensus and commitment. Although you should allow for feedback, it is only for the purpose of gaining consensus, not generating a brainstorming or alternative ideas session. If that is the objective, use my Workshop Framework.

Do your best to start from a position of empathy

Your client or prospect has a specific set of experiences and expertise that inform their decision making. Perhaps even more importantly they have a set of internal demands and expectations around their performance. Do your best to understand these pressures and assure them that you are working for their individual success, as well as the organization's.

Outline a clear agenda

Put it on the cover slide. You typically will spend a fair amount of time with this on the screen before the presentation begins, as you small talk. This focuses the audience, peeks curiosity, and saves time - allowing you to quickly kick off the presentation.

Present a specific business objective

The true goal of the meeting or solution that the client is seeking is often buried in a convoluted request or stated problem. Restate the business objective and get agreement and commitment on the objective. Once you get the heads nodding you have control of the meeting.

Build context for the story or case you're about to present

If there is any background that has preceded this meeting make sure that you restate the events and key facts. You want to establish a single source of truth for this problem set.

Leverage best practices or market leaders

I'm not a fan of follow the leader solutions. However, being well informed as to how key players and influencers are doing things can provide strength to your argument.

I keep a list of these key players and survey them often. I also keep my newsreader tuned into key individual innovators in design, development, marketing, and sales.

From this data bank, I often create a brief survey of the market to level set the audience's view and understanding of the market and solutions to the problems they are trying to solve.

Use facts and data, not your gut

Whenever possible use verifiable facts and data, not your assumptions, experience, or gut. If you don't have any of your own data, the next best thing is getting and interrupting data from industry, authoritative, or influential sources.

This will help you avoid getting mired in debates over assumptions or perspectives.

Present solutions that you're reasonably sure you can deliver

The worst thing that you can do to your credibility is to get everyone excited about a solution and then fall down on the execution and implementation.

Make sure that you have confirmed with your team that what you're proposing is doable - meaning it achieves the objective, is of a high quality, and can be delivered on time. This requires that you clearly articulate the requirements and "beat it up" with a lot of hard questions and use cases before it ever gets to the client or prospect.

Generally, present solutions that put little or no weight on the audience

Everyone in the business world already has and endless and ever growing todo list. The last thing they want is to come out of a meeting with a bunch of additional, often challenging, requests for their time and energy - and maybe internal influence.

In these types of presentations, you're often a significant beneficiary. So, do the work.

Ironically, in my experience this is a rare and differentiating characteristic and will delight your clients and prospects.

(The other hidden truth here is that I don't want my success to be dependent on someone else prioritizing my need. If I can control as many variables as possible, within my team, I significantly increase my probability of success.)

Create clear next steps and expected outcomes

Hopefully, by the end of the presentation you have a lot of smiling faces and affirming head nods. But, don't bask in your glory yet.

Make sure that you recap the consensus you think that you have reached. Get an audible confirmation and commitment from the decision maker(s). Then specifically state EVERYONE's next steps and the path to the positive outcome you have committed to reach.

Then after the meeting memorialize everything in a recap email and attach your presentation.