Giving an Influential Presentation by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

When you’ve been asked to give a presentation, it’s natural to be a little nervous. When you’re presenting with the goal of influencing your audience, you may be even more nervous because you may be trying to change someone’s belief or convince them to do what you want them to do. Whether you’re selling a product or service or trying to win someone’s vote, there are specific steps you can take to increase your power to influence.

  • Be knowledgeable – If you want someone to take advice from you, it’s important that you demonstrate that you are an expert on the subject matter at hand. For example, if you are trying to sell a product, you must be able to answer questions about that product. Consumers are happy to turn over complicated matters, like financial planning, or insurance over to someone else to manage, so long as they believe the person is an expert in their field. Be sure to demonstrate your expertise in your presentation.
  • Give personal examples. People love stories, and stories can be one of the most persuasive tools in your toolbox. When you’re presenting, be sure to tell stories that demonstrate real life. If you’re selling a product, these stories can help convince prospective buyers to go ahead with their decision.
  • Be trustworthy. If you want to influence people, you must be someone they trust. Demonstrate trustworthiness in everything you do. Don’t exaggerate or embellish details. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t pretend that you do. Simply tell the person you will do your research and get back to them. Then, keep your word.
  • Be sincere. If you don’t first believe your own message, you will never convince anyone else to believe it, either. It’s important to examine your own motives for trying to convince others, especially if you harbor any doubts about what you’re saying.

With these tips in mind, you should be prepared to give an honest and sincere presentation that influences others on your chosen subject. Be mindful of your audience and your story’s authenticity and be prepared to wow them with your knowledge and your truth.