Practice a persuasive presentation

Public speaking is not a theoretical skill that you learn by reading, or following passively a video course. You learn when you do.

The best part of my workshops is when participants deliver their presentations and receive terrific feedback from the audience. Here is a chance for you to obtain the same great value. This activity is linked with the Persuasive Presentations: Write, Deliver and move audiences! course, where you find almost 50 video lectures and extra available to address public speaking in an engaging and fun way. Although the course is recommended is not mandatory and encourage you to take on this activity.

In this presentation you want to persuade the audience to feel like you about a given topic. You have to convince them to embrace your point.
The subject of the presentation should be something you are passionate about and where you have a clear opinion about it (and sufficient knowledge to address an audience). Some examples are:

  • Why there should the government regulate more (or less) a given field
  • How education should be
  • Genetic manipulation
  • Helping the less fortunate
  • Public debt
  • Drunk driving
  • The middle-east conflicts
  • Beauty of hiking
  • Playing sports

It could be an hobby you love, a place you want to promote and so on. The purpose is to develop a central theme statement. remember “YMCA – Your Message
Clearly Articulated” in chapter “Two very important questions”. Try then to develop a structure (see chapter “Create a structure”). In particular your presentation should have three clear sections:

  1. Opening: Introduce yourself, your topic and what is the objective of your presentation.
  2. Body: You develop your topic, trying to convince the audience in the time you have at your disposal
  3. Conclusion : ”Cue” the conclusion, your recap why the audience should be persuaded and close with a strong call to action.

Remember to persuade and audience it’s important that you address them both on the logical and emotional side, as we saw in “The audience” and “The subject”.
Your presentation should be at least three minutes and must not exceed five minutes.

Receive feedback

  1. Record your presentation with a camera (you may want to read the following tips) and upload it on YouTube as an Unlisted video so that only people with the link can find it.
  2. Post the link here as a new comment so that we can provide you with constructive feedback.
  3. Check periodically for replies/comments left by others

Some tips for recording your presentation:

  • Practice your speech before recording it, it will save time later and make you better
  • The most important thing in a video is…. audio! Make sure we can hear you well
  • If you want to use notes feel free, just don’t hold them in your hand or read a speech
  • Don’t record too many times, it shouldn’t be perfect. It’s for learning!
  • Try to speak normally, with your own voice as you would (and should) do when speaking before a group
  • Best of luck!

Give constructive feedback and learn from the others

You can improve your public speaking by practicing and by actively watching others at the task.

I encourage you to look at this presentation activity, choose someone’s presentation from the comments, watch the video and provide her/him with valuable feedback.

Valuable feedback is descriptive: good or bad don’t help the receiver to learn anything, they give them a smile or a frown at the best. Please explain what was good and what could be improved. There is no right or wrong answer, or schoolbook text, so your feedback is very valuable as long as it is genuine.

Remember what we are looking for in that activity:

  • Structure: has the presentation a clear opening, a body and a close?
  • Clarity of message: is there a clear message, a point the presenter is trying to get across?
  • Delivery: was the speaker engaging? Was she/he using compelling words? Was she/he using the voice effectively?
  • Length: was it in the 3-5 minutes brackets as requested?

Please post your feedback as a comment to the video and try to be as constructive as you can, as you would like to receive feedback yourself.

Also take notice of what you disliked about the presentation, and think if you could be guilty as well when you speak before a group. At the same time look what you liked and consider if you can embrace it in your presentations.

Happy learning!