Craft a Convincing Presentation

By Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine

Presentations That Change Minds: Strategies to Persuade, Convince, and Get Results by Josh Gordon (McGraw-Hill Cos., 2006)

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Have you ever witnessed a presentation that flopped? The presenter’s enthusiasm seemed faked, the audience was uninterested, and the message irrelevant? The goal of this book is to make sure that your next presentation, whether you’re seeking to win a listing from an uncertain seller or secure business financing from a skeptical lender, is the exact opposite — a total success. Real-life examples featuring well-known business and political leaders such as Steve Jobs and Ronald Reagan illustrate 14 strategies for getting audiences involved and persuading them to your way of thinking. Each chapter explains how to employ one of the strategies, such as humor, trust-building, and excitement, along with tips to avoid common presentation pitfalls. “When persuasive presentations are created with the same template as those designed to inform or educate, few audience members will change their minds,” the author writes. To be successful, you must treat persuasive encounters “as an entirely new species.”

Tips From the Book:

  • Find your audience’s passion. When audiences get truly excited about what you are presenting, they are easily moved to action. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that your audience will be enthusiastic just because you are. Remember that audiences rarely get excited about products or services, but they do get excited when they find out how those products and services benefit them. Excitement starts with tapping into the needs, passions, hopes, and desires of the people sitting in front of you.
  • Memorize the punch line. If you can make the audience laugh, you can connect with them and make your message memorable. But humor is tricky and must be done carefully. Even though it may seem spontaneous, humor must be well planned and rehearsed. After all, if you get distracted and blow the punch line, you’ve botched the whole joke. Memorize the punch line so you can recite it even if a fellow presenter slips and pours ice down your back.
  • Get them to choose you. When your audience compares your offerings to that of your competitors, you must be seen as the top pick. Prepare for your presentation by checking your competitors’ Web sites and literature to find out what they’re saying. Then, plan a way to differentiate yourself by focusing on the details — even the tiny ones — that set you apart from the rest. Translate those differences into benefits for your audience. Don’t be afraid to show a line-by-line comparison of your services and those of your competitors.