The 6 Principles of Persuasive Presenting:Part 3

Posted on Apr 25

All persuasive situations are about taking your audience from point A – their starting point , to point B -where you want them to be.

(This shift in attitude is what Aristotle called persuasion).

And when you are presenting, whatever the situation – whether that’ s in a meeting, a job interview, a pitch or a conference speech – that’s precisely  what you are aiming to do.

Now for some people it appears easy and effortless but the good news is that persuasiveness can be learned and mastered.

Being persuasive is governed by six principles and in the first two posts in this series we talked about

Principle 1: Reciprocity

(see The 6 Principles of Persuasive Presenting:Part 1 ) and

Principle 2 : Scarcity

( see The 6 Principles of Persuasive Presenting:Part 2 )

and how you can apply them in your presentations to be more persuasive.

So now lets look at

Principle No. 3 – Authority

We all look to experts to show us the way particularly when we are aiming to increase our skills or knowledge because people will follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.

We might not expect them to have 10,000 hrs experience as outlined in Malcolm Gladwell’s book ” Outliers”  but we do like to know that the person we are going to invest our time or money in knows what they are doing- that they are an expert in their field and not a beginner.

The science of persuasion shows that you need to establish your credibility before you attempt to influence.

The usual ways that people attempt to do this in presentations is by rattling off a list of all the projects you’ve worked on, or the names of the clients you’ve worked with, or how many years you’ve been in business  but these are not necessarily the most appropriate or effective ways to do it.

When you are giving a presentation how you do it depends upon the presentation situation and you can do this  easily and effectively by getting someone else to do the hard lifting for you.

Here are some examples of how you can do it …

1. If possible get someone else to introduce you.

This always works better than introducing yourself because it acts as  external verification of your expertise.

BUT make sure that you know how you want to be introduced, that it is relevant for your audience and write it down for the person who will introduce you.

This has two benefits-firstly, they will thank you for saving them a job and secondly you have control over the audience’s introduction to you.

e.g. when speaking to an audience of  senior managers  about how coaching can help them to challenge under-performance I want them to know that  I have worked as a Performance Coach and in doing so have improved  performance by on average 61% .

2. Use testimonials

Rather than listing the clients you’ve worked with get testimonials from them about the results you have achieved and use these to establish your expertise.

They are an example of social proof and provide third party validation.

Make sure that they are relevant to the particular presentation you are giving and the audience you are presenting to. Every industry likes to think that they are unique and when you  use testimonials from clients in the same field as your audience they have a much greater impact.

e.g. If I am presenting to a group of  architects then I quote the testimonials from architects where I have helped them to pitch and win contracts that have increased their turnover by 38% – I don’t use the testimonials I have from PR agencies because it won’t have any relevance for them.

3. Outline your relevant experience.

A common mistake that people make in presentations (and I see this in CVs too) is that they include all of their experience rather than focusing on what will connect with a specific audience (or  potential employer).

e.g. if I am speaking to an audience of accountants then I tell them about the £2000 of extra business my accountant  got the very first time he used one of the techniques I taught  him. It’s not relevant for them that I helped a young entrepreneur to present in front of 200 people to win Britain’s Got Young Talent.

So use examples that your audience can relate to that show them how specifically you can help them. This shows your expertise and also demonstrates that you understand their challenges.

When you do this then you make it more personal for  your audience and increase your ability to persuade and influence them.

Next time we’ll look at how you can use Principle No. 4

Until then,

with best wishes for your success,


Cath Daley Ltd.

p.s. if you like this post please share using the social media links at the top.


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Posted on Apr 25 in Business Pitching, Business Presentations, Coaching, Communication skills, NLP, Presentation Skills, Public Speaking

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