Four Persuasive Presentation Secrets

Being able to communicate persuasively with any audience is not just about what you say, it’s also about what you do. Here are four tips for making your communication more persuasive

1. Take Time to Build Rapport

When rapport exists, there is a sense of trust and confidence between people that makes each more likely to respond positively to the other. Although there are techniques you can use to accelerate rapport, it has to be earned.

You create rapport by being willing to meet the other person where they are rather than trying to drag them where you want them to be. The biggest mistake most people make in any type of communication is trying to communicate from their own perspective rather than trying to relate to where their audience currently is.

If you take time to understand your audience, whether it’s one person or a thousand, you will find it much easier to build rapport and communicate with them more successfully. You create rapport when you use that knowledge to change the way you communicate to suit your audience.

2. Model Successful Communicators

One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to notice what works well for others and then to incorporate elements of what you see into your own behavior. Modeling is not about copying people. That’s often illegal and it doesn’t usually work. However, if you learn what makes other people good at something, you can use that experience to improve your own performance.

The key to successful modeling is that it’s not just about watching what people do, it’s as much about understanding how they think and what they believe. Take advantage of any opportunity to talk to speakers you admire and read as much as possible about them.

3. Always Be Authentic

To become a great presenter, you need to be yourself. One of the secrets of the best speakers is that they appear natural. They are the same on stage as they are in person. Too many people try to invent a persona that they use in presentations as they think that’s what is needed. And many people hold off from speaking because they compare themselves unfavorably to other people. The truth is it doesn’t matter. People are interested in what you have to say not in your speaking abilities.

Former US President Ronald Reagan is now called the Great Communicator but that’s as much for the way his natural personality shows through as for great public speaking skills.

You can improve your speaking skills by enhancing your abilities. But speaking successfully is about using your existing abilities to their full advantage. Just be yourself and you will get the results that you want.

4. Value and Respond to Feedback

Like most things in life, giving presentations is a process of constant improvement – no matter how good you are.

In order to be able to improve, you must:

- Be willing to accept feedback constructively: If you want to improve, listen to what people say and incorporate it next time. Accepting feedback doesn’t mean you have to do what others say but all feedback helps you be aware of what works for you most of the time and what doesn’t.

- Actively seek opportunities for feedback: If you seriously want to improve your presentation skills, you should actively encourage feedback. Hand out surveys at the end of a presentation or ask someone you know well in the audience for some comments. Try to find people who will be both honest and encouraging.

- Keep doing more: The best way to improve is to keep getting more practice so that you improve your skills, incorporate more of what you learn and build your confidence.

Following these four secrets will help you build your persuasive presentation skills easily and confidently.

Are You Presentable From All Sides? The Art Of Building A Trade Show Display In The Round

You’re used to analyzing your trade show display from the front. You can hide many things in back, like a disorganized pile of literature or a staff schedule. Yet this kind of design makes a very important assumption: that you’ll be able to put it against a wall and that three of the four sides will be enclosed. While space allotment often works out such that those conditions apply, there are many venues where the design permits, or even favors, trade show displays that can be viewed from any angle.

A Trade Show Exhibit Inspired By Theatre In The Round

For many years, some of the most artistic and innovative theatre companies have been putting on performances in the round. In the round means that there is no ‘back’ to the stage; your audience is all around, so you have to be certain that you’re always presenting an appealing visual from every side of the stage. This becomes even more complicated because the design must be a good setting for the telling of a story.

Remembering the roots of the total visibility trade show exhibit often helps first-time designers with their initial conceptualization. Your information is like the plot of the play, unfolding against the backdrop of your trade show displays. When you have the unit out in the open, the stakes of good display practice are higher, but there’s a lot more potential reward as well. Like the set designer for a major production, you must always remember that you’re promoting a product or the unit itself can take over.

Square Or Round Trade Show Display?

The first choice you will make will be to decide what shape you’d like the unit to take. Theoretically (and budget permitting), you could make it any shape you desire. Some of the companies with the largest budgets will create highly personalized shapes that further represent their company or offer particular advantage for showcasing their products. While this might be a good option for your next trade show display, your first exhibit in the round can be a bit more simplistic. Simply decide whether you’d like the strength and hardness of a squared-off unit, or the curved form of a circular version. Like with so many other questions, there isn’t a wrong answer; it’s simply a matter of which you feel best suits your company.

Remember That Your Trade Show Exhibits Have No Back

Whenever you design one object for an exhibit, you need to plan what will be put in back of it. When you have true total visibility, people will literally see things from every angle. If you’ve chosen to put a sign high above your exhibit, you need to think about how you’ll hide the supports so people passing on the other side can read it as well. In some cases, adjusting for this is as simple as creating a mirror image of the front on the backside. In other cases, it can be much more difficult. One way or the other, the key to success here is to simply plan out all sides of the unit and its components.

Creating a cohesive and visually dynamic freestanding display is an art that takes time and practice to master. Once you have some experience under your belt, you’ll have a substantial advantage because this type of unit looks like no other. Many companies and visitors consider it to be the pinnacle of modern trade show displays. Your first attempt might not win any awards, but with additional experience you’ll be able to create even more outstanding designs that will impress visitors at every angle.

3 Barriers to Enjoying the Present

There are 3 basic reasons we do not enjoy the present and these brain machinations keep us from enjoying the present and then potentially the future as well.

  • We are living too in the past [memory]
  • We are living too much in the future [dreaming of what is ahead]
  • We have a fear of change

Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams,
But that magic feeling never seems to last.

And while the future’s there for anyone to change,

Don’t you know it seems

It would be easier sometimes to change the past.

[Jackson Browne; Fountain of Sorrow]

Too many of us fail to live in the present because it seems to be the nature of the human brain or mind to skip over what is happening and to dwell on the what-ifs of the past and/or the I-wills of the future.

If we could change the past as the lyrics say – would we? Would we make different choices? It’s an idea to ponder but in reality we can only change the future by changing the present choices – not actually undoing previous ones.

The past is easy to think about precisely because it already happened! We do not need to invent that reality. We replay events wondering what if we had acted differently or had not done a specific action or had done an action.

We can easily depress ourselves via this course of thinking because there is nothing we can do and we feel helpless.

Or we can think about the future and what we will do “when”

  • When we have enough money
  • When we are married
  • When we are happy
  • When we feel like doing [whatever it is]

Thinking ahead about “whens” is different than making actual plans for those “whens” or actually moving toward them.

And there are some “whens” that are too vague or too distant or too unrealistic to get us moving toward them.

Many of our “whens” are actually thoughts we use to protect ourselves from any real or imagined failures.

Which leads to the 3rd barrier – fear of change. We as humans like inertia – even if it is an inertia that keeps us stuck in an uncomfortable place. It is one of the odd conditions of being human that this happens.

So we remain rehashing the past or putting up future “whens” to keep us feeling safe rather than getting outside of our own minds and creating that change for our own futures.