If you want to make a presentation persuasive, you need to:
Crafting a presentation can be a lot of work. And there's nothing more frustrating than feeling like your message just didn't land, despite all the effort you put in.
The hard truth is that even the most beautifully designed presentation slide can fail to persuade.
What is a message good for if it doesn’t hit home and doesn’t drive action?
Unless you’re satisfied with simply getting in front of an audience, you probably want to bring some sort of transformation to people’s lives, no?
Well, your message is not gonna go past the exit door if it’s not persuasive.
Stick with me for a few minutes and you’ll learn how to write and design persuasive presentations.
Let’s look at some real-life examples that delivered great results, and I’ll even throw in a few templates to get you a good start.
Let’s dive in!
Let's dive straight into the heart of what makes a presentation truly persuasive. Each element plays a crucial role in ensuring your message not only reaches your audience but deeply resonates with them.
11 weopons of of persuasive presentations:
People need to believe you in order to agree with you. Just as you'd trust a friend's recommendation, your audience needs to trust what you're sharing.
It's about authenticity and integrity and ensuring they feel you're genuine and have their best interests at heart.
People respect authority figures. Flaunt your credentials subtly. If you're an expert, let it show - use slides that highlight your expertise and experience in the field.
People follow the crowd. Include in your presentation testimonials, user statistics, and stories of people like your audience who took you on your offer and experienced success. If everyone's using your product, it must be good, right?
If you or your topic are familiar then you’re intuitively less threatening and therefore acceptable. It's that warm feeling that makes you feel at home and among friends.
When your audience sees their own experiences and challenges reflected in your content, it creates an instant bond. It's like recognizing a familiar face in a crowd.
Incorporate names, places, and topics familiar to your audience into your presentation to get into their inner circle.
We say 'yes' to people we like. Be likable. Smile, make jokes, and show enthusiasm. If they like you, they'll like what you're selling. Use humor and storytelling to make yourself more relatable.
When making a reading presentation, include a personal video of you in a casual environment talking directly to your audience as you would a colleague you like and feel comfortable with.
To make people like you want to align your presentation with the 7-38-55 rule which guides you on what contributes to likability.
According to the rule:
“Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking”
So make sure to write what you feel and feel what you say. Or otherwise learn acting.
People feel obliged to return favors. To use this to your advantage start a physical presentation with a small handout. To make it easy use a QR code slide (you can use a free QR code generator)to give your audience a digital handout.
If you’re creating a digital reading presentation you can offer a coupon with a small taste of what you offer (like a short consultancy, a free audit, studio design time, or a small taste of your product).
Do this and they'll feel like you've given them something, and they'll pay closer attention and be more inclined to 'return the favor.'
People listen intently when you’re talking about them. Ever heard someone talk about a topic you were concerned about, and your ears perked up? It got your attention like a 3-year-old seeing a chocolate cake, didn’t it?
Tailor your message to your audience's current needs or challenges to ensure they feel you're speaking directly to them.
People make decisions based on what they remember. You will only ever persuade people of something they remember you said.
To make your presentation memorable give it substance - show what you offer in images or videos, provide concrete examples of your key concepts in action, and tell detailed stories about you, your team, your solution, and the audience you serve.
Once people commit, they like to stay consistent. Get your audience to agree with you early on.
Maybe ask them to raise their hand if they've ever experienced a problem that you solve. Maybe tell them a story of someone in their situation and ask if it resonates with them.
In reading presentations, use rhetorical questions or interactive slides to get early commitments.
Limited availability increases appeal. Create a sense of urgency. Maybe offer a limited number of seats in an event.
Maybe offer a discount for the first 100 subscribers. Maybe tell them they can schedule a meeting with you for 2 weeks before you leave for another destination.
For a reading presentation use a countdown timer or "limited seats available" to create this sense of urgency.
The harder a thing is to do the less likely people will do it. Whatever you decide to ask from your audience, keep it simple to do.
Ask for small concessions rather than big commitments. You only need them to take the first step, and then you’ve got a relationship going, which positions you to ask for the next step, and the next after that, till you reach your goal.
Writing persuasively is all about connecting with your audience on a deeper level. With these techniques in your toolkit, you're all set to craft presentations that not only inform but inspire and motivate.
Beginnings matter. Think of your opening as the first impression. You want to grab your audience's attention right from the get-go.
Whether it's a surprising fact, a thought-provoking question, or a relatable story, make sure it's something that makes your audience lean in and think, "Tell me more!"
Here's a presentation that hooks people in right from the start:
Don’t beat around the bush. Get to the point fast. Give your audience a quick overview of what you have in store for them and how you can change their life for the better.
Make sure to be clear about who you are talking to. Define your target audience the way they would describe themselves and let them know you are speaking to them on a topic they care about.
Don’t take a one-shoe-fits-all approach. You can’t serve everyone well. Do everyone a favor and tell them who your message, solution, or advice (or whatever it is you offer) is not meant for.
They won’t resent it. They will appreciate it, and it will lend you integrity, credibility, and persuasive power.
Don’t let people guess what you can do for them. Introduce the value you offer as soon as you can. Give your value shape and concrete detail.
If it’s a product - show it in action, if it’s an intangible prize like money - show them what they can do with it, and if it’s an emotional outcome - tell them the story of someone you’ve helped.
Most of us get our information through authority figures. If you demonstrate your authority your words will encounter less skepticism and less push-back.
Show what you or your team have achieved in your field, and show some acknowledgment of your achievements by established and well-known authorities, whether people or organizations.
Just be very careful not to come off as boastful or cocky, unless these traits resonate with your target audience (yes, I am talking about you - sales crowd).
Talk to your audience in their own words, use the phrases they use, and tell stories and allegories that appeal to them and fit into their life.
Do the research. Hang out where they hang out, physically or on the web, listen and read what they say and who they say it to.
I know you’ve heard this one too many times before, so let me be clear: tell stories, plural. Short anecdotes or examples that give substance to what you’re talking about.
Fill your little stories with details about who did something where, when, what, and why. Make it mostly familiar but at the same time a bit surprising and unexpected.
If it’s too outlandish it’s not credible, and if it’s too familiar it's not interesting.
There's something satisfying about things that come in threes. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", "of the people, by the people, for the people"... you get the point.
This is called the rule of tree. Simply put it means grouping your points or ideas in threes which makes your message more rhythmic, elegant, and sticky.
Repetition can be a powerful tool to emphasize your key points. Just think about Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream".
By repeating key phrases, you not only drive your message home but also give it a predictable structure that lets your audience unconsciously chant the words with you .
Everyone loves feeling special. Tailor your content to resonate with your particular audience. Whether it's addressing their unique challenges or using examples they can relate to, personalization builds a deeper connection and rapport.
In this case, personalize more thoroughly. Use their name, and their specific details, like their company, city, product, or (if you met each other) where you met.
Just don’t overdo it and cross into creep-land. Keep any personalization unmistakably within the context of your presentation. (Unless you’re selling a bed, don’t reference how beautiful they look when they sleep 😜).
Here's an example of a personalized sales pitch presentation:
Note: Notice the dynamic variables they’ve added in their Storydoc deck. WiseStamp actually shows a ready-made email signature with the prospect’s name, image, and company logo in it. They personalized their product demo! How crazy is that?
Finish strong! After sharing your insights, guide your audience on what to do next. Whether it's trying out a new tool, adopting a mindset, or simply reflecting on what they've learned, a clear call to action gives direction and purpose.
Here's what it should look like:
While words are the heart of your presentation, design is its soul. A well-designed presentation not only captivates but also amplifies your message.
Let's dive into the world of persuasive design and uncover the secrets that make a presentation truly stand out:
First impressions count. Start with a captivating visual that immediately grabs attention. This could be a bold graphic, a striking image, or even an intriguing layout. It's like the cover of a book; it invites the audience to delve deeper.
Here's a great example of a presentation with a visual hook:
As humans, we often look to others to validate our choices. Dr. Robert Cialdini defines social proof as people doing what they observe others doing. It's the idea that if other people are doing it, it must be good.
In the context of your presentation, this could mean showcasing testimonials, endorsements, or even user reviews. It's a nod to the audience that others have been here and found value.
Here's an example of a social proof slide:
Including familiar faces or landmarks can be a game-changer. When your audience sees someone they recognize or a place they relate to, it builds an instant connection and trust. It's like seeing a friend in a crowd; it feels familiar and safe.
Original visuals lend you credibility and status. They show that you put in the effort. They show that you can afford to invest in your content and that you’re not some shmo working from his mom’s basement.
Stock photos have their place, but nothing beats original, high-quality visuals. Whether it's custom graphics, original photographs, or tailored illustrations, unique visuals make your presentation memorable and authentic.
Here's a great example of a presentation with high-quality visuals:
Think about those commercials that tug at your heartstrings or make you laugh. They stay with you, right? Using images that evoke emotions can make your message resonate more deeply with your audience.
Just like a catchy jingle in a commercial, maintaining a consistent design theme throughout your presentation creates a rhythm and flow. It ensures your audience remains hooked and can easily follow along.
Here's a great example of a visually cohesive presentation:
After taking your audience on a journey, guide them on the next steps. Whether it's trying a new product, exploring a concept further, or simply reflecting on the insights shared, a clear call to action gives direction.
More importantly, make your call-to-action super easy to act on. Make it something they can do immediately with as little friction as possible.
Note: In Storydoc, there’s a handy little design feature that lets you embed your calendar app direction into your presentation. This way whenever you share it, your reader can simply access your calendar and set a meeting.
Here's an example of a calendar slide:
When it comes to persuasive presentations, having a structure that's been tried and tested can be a game-changer.
We built our persuasive presentation templates based on insights from more than 100,000 presentation sessions and the world of neuroscience. They’re all designed with storytelling in mind and tested to look flawless on every device.
It's like having a seasoned presenter whispering tips in your ear, guiding your content to truly resonate.
Pick a template from our library and use it to create your presentation.
Try Storydoc interactive presentation maker for 14 days free (keep any presentation you make forever!)