Engaging in presentations – Get your audience to see it your way

If you are giving a presentation, chances are you need to engage or influence your audience in some way. Maybe you want them to give you a job, maybe you want them to buy from you or buy into a new company policy for example.
Now I am going to give you an influencing model that fits nicely into our existing structure of Tell them what you are going to tell them, Tell them and then Tell them what you have told them.  You  can read about this here.
This is a six step process which needs to be covered in your presentation and more importantly in the order you can see in our model below.
Influencing model
As you can see from our model the first thing you need to address is to make your audience feel important.
Miss this step and you will have lost your audience, right from the off and you will be unlikely get them back on your side. Thankfully it is fairly easy to do. Acknowledge your audience as they arrive. A hello or a handshake, tell them there’s water or coffee available if they are early. Make sure they have a seat. Simple things make a big difference to how an audience will receive your presentation.
Often when giving presentations we are so consumed with nerves and what we have to say, we forget these simple things. A person ignored is a person lost.
If you are presenting after someone else or you will arrive after your audience is already seated like in a job interview presentation, this step still needs to be covered. Thank them for giving up their time to be there. Acknowledging who they are is a simple measure you can take and is only one small sentence that will have a great impact in making them feel important.
“Thank you to all of you at xyz company for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today”
The next step is Needs. Not yours theirs.
Any audience has to have their needs met and your job in a presentation is to satisfy those but the first job is to actually acknowledge those needs. Their first needs are quite simple, they need to feel comfortable. How long are we going to be here and what are we expecting to hear today. Satisfying this need and acknowledging it will get your audience on side and listening. They may also have some specific needs relating to your presentation and this has to be acknowledged here too.
For example, they may be expecting to learn about a new policy within the company. Simply saying “My presentation today is going to last half an hour and I am going to be taking you through the new xyz policy that is to be introduced on the 1st of the new year”
At this point after acknowledging their needs and managing their expectations it is good to put in some rules of your own. Mobile phones and when you will be taking questions. For more information see Handling Questions.
These two steps of the influencing model cover your Tell them part of the structure of your presentation.
The next step is Benefits.Benefits
Before anyone will buy into anything you want them to do or understand they need to know what’s in it for them.
For example ” You may have some concerns about this new policy which I can cover in the Q & A session but the policy is in fact designed with you as sales representatives in mind. We have taken in to account the problems you encounter when booking, in house appointments and this new policy should make your life much easier and your work life more harmonious”
No matter what your subject or how difficult it may be you can always find some benefits to point out to your audience.
The next step is Facts.
It doesn’t matter how bought into your idea or product a person is they still need to know the facts. The facts are easier to digest and take on board when they know why or how it benefits them, so it is important to get these two in the right order in your presentation.
For Example ” The new policy which takes effect at the beginning of next year will have all sales representatives on a weekly rota for when you can book in house appointments. This rota will be sent out to you by email at the beginning of next month”
Benefits and facts make up the second part of your structure Tell them.
The next step is Queries.
This could also be called questions but whatever you call it your audience will have some, whether they acknowledge it or not. See handling questions for more information.
Despite the fact that they have been made to feel important, had their needs acknowledged, know how they will benefit with all facts to hand, no presenter will have covered everything and you shouldn’t try to either. Give your audience some things to ponder and have some queries about. This helps with audience engagement.
The final step is Decision.
This is the step that most presenters leave out but without it, all your hard work will have been for nothing.
After Questions, you need to take back control of the presentation and do the third part of your structure. Tell them what you have told them. Recap the main points and then ask them for what you want. Do not assume that they know what you want from them and do not be afraid to ask.
For Example ” I hope I have now covered everything you need to know about this new xyz policy which has been designed with you the sales representative, in mind. It will enable the more effective use of in house facilities and ensure a more harmonious working atmosphere for you all. I want this new policy to work and need you all to stick to the new Rotas and to give the new system a chance to work for the benefit of all. Thank you for your time today.”
And thank you for your time in reading this today. I hope this has helped you in putting together your presentation and please feel free to comment below if you have any questions. And remember there is no such thing as a silly question.
With Grace and Gratitude

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