The CURE for Floundering Presenters

Posted:  May 28th, 2009 by:  admin comments:  0

Your event presentation is where the real relationship begins. While you’ve made introductions through the invitation, rsvp, registration and confirmation stages, chances are your first meaningful face-to-face interaction starts with your event presentation.

Pleasantries have been exchanged and–like a first date–attendees are about to discover whether they made a mistake for accepting the invitation. Since a relationship’s beginnings are so important, it is a good exercise to examine presentation best practices before you head to the microphone.

In The Art of Public Speaking, author Stephan Lucas suggests there are four specific styles of persuasive speaking.  An event presentation and a sales pitch are two different things, so you don’t want to be persuasive like you might be in a sales call but learning the art of persuasion is still a wise step.

Some public speaking gurus have taken Lucas’s ideas and summarized them into the C.U.R.E.  This approach suggests that you accept the role you play in curing an audience of its resistance to your message.

The elements of C.U.R.E. are as follows:

C – Credibility

U – Use of Evidence

R – Reasoning

E – Emotion

Building credibility is a crucial first step in public speaking. Miss this piece and, it doesn’t matter how convincing you sound, you simply won’t be trusted. Credibility is based on confidence and measurable results. So, first thing’s first: Are you prepared enough for your presentation that you can be confident to deliver? Whatever else you do, be prepared! You can cite your credentials, experience, or passion for the topic. You can use facts and statistics to establish value. Basically, if you want to be heard, you have to give your audience members a speaker they can trust.

Now, just because you’re standing behind the podium doesn’t make you right. You may be convinced that a product, service, or attitude (for that matter) can deliver REAL results. You may be passionate and you may be right. But, you need to remember you believe it cause you saw it. Use evidence to turn your opinion to reality. Testimonials, expert opinions, and personal anecdotes are merely some of the ways you can bring evidence to your presentation. Basically, if you want to be trusted, you have to give your audience members evidence they can understand.

There are idealists and realists. The interesting separation between the two is that idealists are likely to appreciate realistic arguments whereas realists are unlikely to accept the whims of idealism. So, to keep it safe, be logical. That’s not to say you need to throw inspiration aside. But, reasoning is the best tool as your disposal to help your audience understand how you reached the conclusions you’re sharing with them. Basically, if you want to be understood, your ideas need to be attractive.

Finally, emotions are not a thing to fear, even in the business world. The truth is many people make decisions based on a feeling and then justify that decision with a rational argument. Ethical and emotional arguments are a way to incorporate the honest human condition that shapes the art of persuasion. Basically, if you want to be attractive you must understand the emotional element to persuasion.

So, persuasion shouldn’t be reserved for closing a sale. Using credibility, evidence, reasoning and emotions, you can achieve the most solid of sales foundations–you can build a relationship.


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