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Why Almost All presentations Should Be Persuasive

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Do you think of yourself as a persuasive presenter?

If you are a trainer or educator, perhaps not. If you present project updates, maybe not.

But you should.

As a colleague of mine, T.J. Walker, says in a course of his on persuasive speaking, “Even if you’re a Classics professor, you want to persuade your students that the material is important enough to pay attention to, so they’ll pass the test.”

And as a student of mine, Corporate Training Coordinator Kathy Loch Klein, wrote me after taking my High-Persuasion Presentations Program:

“It worked! I just wanted to tell you that the techniques you shared in the Persuasion classes last month really worked wonders. Yesterday, I did a revised version of a training that I have done more than 70 times. I upgraded the slides using the techniques you taught. Although I presented the same statistics and information, the audience was visibly (and audibly) more attentive when I paired the stats with persuasive photos. Thank you again.”

If you present project updates, you should at least be trying to persuade your audience that you accomplished a lot and that what you accomplished matters.

So every presentation has an element of persuasion.

Some presentations should be more persuasive than others

Of course, some presentations should be mostly persuasive. Sales presentations are an obvious example. But other presentations also fit this model:

  • Inspiring an audience to donate time or money to a cause (If you want to inspire an audience, read this blog post, “Speaking to Inspire.”)
  • Persuading a team to make changes
  • Asking for approval for a proposal
  • Persuading people to take an action

What makes a presentation persuasive?

Persuasion is a big topic and a huge amount has been written about it. I can’t include everything in this blog post, but here is a good outline to start with:

  • Understand the problems your audience is experiencing and show your empathy
  • Provide a solution that’s useful to your audience
  • Express the cost of inaction (or taking the wrong action)
  • Tell stories or case studies so people know that others have successfully used the suggested course of action
  • Use images to convey the emotions you want your audience to feel; images are more persuasive than words
  • Clearly explain what action you want people to take
  • Be enthusiastic. Do you believe in what you’re saying?
  • Practice until you can deliver your presentation in a way that engages your audience

How to learn more about persuasive presenting

My course, High-Persuasion Presentation Program, goes deeply into the topic of speaking persuasively. It’s a good place to start. I also offer 1-on-1 coaching for persuasive presenters.

What’s your top tip for presenting persuasively?

Leave a comment and share your best tip for presenting persuasively. And please use the Share buttons to share this post with others who can benefit.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Ellen Finkelstein – View the original post .


About the author


Guest Blog by

Ellen is a PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional, a Microsoft award), one of only 11 in the United States and 40 in the world. Her well-known website at offers many PowerPoint tips, a blog, and the free PowerPoint Tips Newsletter. She specializes in training speakers and presenters to convert Death by PowerPoint to Life by PowerPoint; communicate clearly and powerfully; and design high-impact, persuasive and professional-looking slides.

She is an Amazon bestselling author. Some of her books and e-books are PowerPoint for Teachers: Dynamic Presentations and Interactive Classroom Projects, How to Do Everything with PowerPoint 2007 (and three earlier editions), Slide Design for Non-Designers, 101 Tips Every PowerPoint User Should Know, The Lost Art of Persuasion, and others. She has written numerous articles on presenting and PowerPoint for Microsoft’s website and blog, Inside PowerPoint,, PresentationXpert, Presentations magazine, and more.

Ellen Finkelstein has done training for Citrix, Brainshark, Disney, Microsoft, Pennsylvania State Education Association, Maharishi University of Management, State University of New York at Buffalo, State University of Illinois, Vastu Homes, and others. She does on-site training, 1-on-1 virtual coaching/training, and live workshops. Read other posts by

Published On: 26th May 2017

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