How to be more persuasive when presenting

One of the many challenges presenters face is how to be persuasive, engaging and likable all at the same time during their presentation.

Whether you are giving a pitch to receive funding, giving a presentation to a prospective client, or presenting an idea to other members of your team, your content, body language and voice all play a part in how persuasive you are.

In this post we’re going to share our top tips to help you be more persuasive when presenting so that your audience will listen and respond in a positive way.


Get the structure right

Opening:  You have to grab the audience’s attention straightaway – shock them with a statistic, ask a rhetorical question, or tell a personal story.  Whichever method you use to hook them in, remember this sets the scene for the rest of the presentation so make sure you give a positive first impression.

Main: Wrap the main focus of your content in a story (see Tip 2 below).  Watch the language you use and keep things simple.  You don’t want to confuse your audience by using complicated sentences, acronyms, or jargon they don’t understand.  Use simple language and short paragraphs for maximum impact.  Use the word “You” throughout, it will help you connect to the audience as though you are speaking to each person individually.

Close: Finish with a relevant message or call to action – make sure your audience knows what they should do and why they should do it.


Tell a story

It’s no secret that we all love to listen to stories.

If you open your presentation with a personal story, share some of yourself, maybe even show some vulnerability, it will help you create that all-important connection with your audience.

When you tell a story you create an emotional connection between you and your audience – you connect with them on a personal level.

When people feel something it’s much easier for them to remember what you said later – especially if they felt like their opinion mattered or shared in the story as well!


Maintain eye contact

When you’re trying to be persuasive, eye contact with your audience is one of the most important aspects of the presentation.  It can be used to create more engagement, it helps to make an emotional connection, and it’s a powerful way to convey your message in an impactful manner.

We often talk about eye contact in our blog posts, yet we still see presenters using what we call the “Lighthouse method” – where they sweep the room from side to side without really focusing on any one person.  This can come across to the audience as being impersonal and distant.

We recommend looking at each person for about 5 seconds before moving on to the next person and try to be as random as possible when choosing people.

This will help your audience feel engaged and involved in what you have to say!


Vary your voice

Your voice is your most powerful tool when presenting. If you are not using it to its full potential, then you are missing out on an opportunity to be more persuasive.

The way you speak can have a huge impact on how your message is received. The tone of your voice, the speed at which you talk and the volume in which you deliver your words all contribute to this.

Think of a lawyer whose job is to persuade the jury in a courtroom – how do they speak?  Generally, it’s with purpose, flair and gravitas.  They are focused and never sound monotone – they speak with emotion.

Volume: To be more persuasive, include more variety in your volume.  Your average volume should be slightly louder than your volume in normal everyday conversations.  The key is to project your voice, and not shout.

Pitch: Your vocal pitch should also be varied as it conveys your emotions.  For example, when you want to present something exciting or engaging, then your pitch should be slightly higher than normal.

Speed: Don’t forget to also vary the speed at which you speak, slowing down a little when you want to emphasise a point, and remember to pause!


Keep the above tips in mind when you prepare and deliver your next presentation, especially if you’re hoping to persuade the audience to act.  When you present with confidence, passion and are engaging, you have the power to change minds!


If you would like to know more about how we can help your team deliver persuasive presentations, ask about our 1 and 2 day group presentation skills programmes.