The 6 Principles of Persuasive Presenting:Part 6

Posted on May 30

Let me begin this post with  a few questions for you

What if..

  • your potential client just wants to do business with you?
  • your audience, whoever they are,  gives you  resounding applause every time you speak?
  • your teenage children tidy their rooms without an argument?

Sounds like bliss?

Believe it or not all of the above are easy to do when you use the principles of persuasion that we’ve been talking about in this series of posts.

And now it’s time for the final one….

Principle No. 6 – Consensus

This principle is sometimes referred to as social proof and it works because we all have a tendency to assume that an action is more correct if others are doing it too.

If you are a parent of teenagers then you will already have experienced this many times I’m sure.   It goes something like this….

“Why can’t I go to the late night party. Everyone else in my class is going. Their parents say it’s ok!”- the implication being that if everyone else says it’s ok then it must be.

And I’m sure you’ ll have many other examples too!

There are lots of examples from psychological research that demonstrate the power of consensus to influence other people’s actions.

One of my favourites is that done by Stanley Milgram and his colleagues that demonstrate just how easy it is to do.

A research assistant stopped on a very busy street in New York and gazed up into the sky for about a minute.

Most people just walked around him without bothering to look up.

But when 4 more researchers joined the first, so there were now 5 people looking up, the number of passers-by who joined them increased by 400%!

And if you don’t believe this works give it a go…it’s great fun!!

So how can you apply this in your presentations?

1. Use testimonials

The right sort of testimonials from previous clients can be really powerful at providing the social proof that people require to make the decision to buy from you- whether that’s buying into your ideas, your products or your services.

When you use them in your presentation make sure that they are relevant to that particular audience and that they are in your client’s own words. If you can use a video clip that’s even better.

Many people tell me that one of the most powerful things on my website is the video testimonials I have from my clients.

They have to be from people similar to them to have the desired persuasive effect.

2. Use statistics

You can use statistics of how other people have benefited from what you have to offer

e.g 100% of the bid teams I have worked with have a 100% win rate in their interview presentations

Be careful that you don’t overwhelm your audience with too many numbers but this can be really powerful when done well.

3. Focus on the positive behaviour you want to promote

To give you an example of what I mean….

You are a CEO/ Director and the attendance at your monthly SMT meetings has gone down by 30%

The usual way to deal with this is to call attention to the fact that so many people are absent but this actually reinforces that exact behaviour through the principle of consensus.

Instead focus on highlighting  just how many do turn up every time  70% – this is the majority and so then  Principle No. 6 comes into play to reinforce the behaviour you want to promote i.e. attendance

Everyday, whatever our roles, we face the challenge of persuading others to do what we want.

Whether you’re a CEO, a Director, an Entrepreneur, a Senior Executive, a manager, a parent, a teacher- whatever-   you can get significantly different results when you apply The 6 Principles of Persuasive Presenting .

I hope you have enjoyed this series of posts and I’d love to hear about the results you get so do please use the comment box below to let me know how you get on!

Until next time,

With best wishes for your success,


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Cath Daley Ltd.

Cath is a Find the Edge Expert Panellist Find The Edge Badge

You can find details of the previous 5 Principles by clicking on the following links

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Posted on May 30 in Business Presentations, Communication skills, Leadership Development, NLP, Presentation Skills, Public Speaking

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