The Difference Between a Persuasive and an Informative Presentation

There are a number of reasons as to why experts host presentations. The main type of presentations held can normally fall into two different categories, persuasive and informative.

What Is The Purpose of a Persuasive Presentation?

Presentations can be held in order to promote a particular service or product, presentations such as these would fall into the persuasive category. The reason for this is that the presentation would be hosted to explain the benefits of the product, message or service. Within the presentation, it would be up to the host to highlight then benefits while still ensuring that rich content that the audience wants to hear is being delivered.

The success of such a presentation can be measured by how many people make a purchase, employs a service or join a cause. Similarly, if the presentation is for a proposal, then the success can be determined as to whether or not you received the approval you need.

What Is The Purpose of an Informative Presentation?

Informative presentations tend to deal with training or education. There can be elements of a persuasive presentation intertwined. For example, a teacher may need to persuade his students that the subject is worth learning about. But the main objective of such a presentation is for people to absorb and retain information.

Research can be another important aspect of an informative presentation. A business may have carried out market research in relation to their business, and a presentation could be held to deliver such information to members of staff. As a result of the presentation, a decision would then need to be made in light of the information. A successful presentation of this type can be measured by the outcome of the decision, and how it was implemented using the information to hand.

The success of such presentations can be difficult to monitor unless there is a test or exercise that follows the presentation. In this regard, if the test results are high, then you can assume that your informative presentation was a success.

Although both presentations are different in what they have to offer, they do share similar characteristics. For example, both should have a clear goal as to what they want to inform their audience about. With this in mind, it is important that the presentation is tailored around your audience and they are able to fully understand your content. If you happen to host a presentation that falls into either category, you should ensure that you encourage the audience to participate by adding a question and answer session, or something similar.

Both types of presentation are also likely to involve a problem and solution section. Within a persuasive presentation, it is likely that the host will present a problem, then tailor their solution with a product or service. The problem and solution section may not seem so apparent within an informative presentation, but there could be a section that focuses on overcoming problems. For example, a business may highlight the problem of poor customer service.

Outlining the benefits of any product or service you are selling is paramount for persuasive presentations. Customers like to have a clear outline of how your product or service can solve their problem and what they can gain from their purchase. Outlining benefits is not at the forefront of an informative presentation, but the content itself may be beneficial to your audience, so in this regard, you would also look to sell the benefits of the very information you are relaying to your audience.

Emotions play a large part of persuasive presentations. In fact, studies have shown that very few people are able to make a purchase without feeling good about it. So when it comes to delivering a persuasive presentation, your ability to ignite human interaction and emotion should be one of your main focuses. Evidently informative presentations can also have emotion involved, but this can differ depending on the presentation.

Trust is the drive behind both types of presentation. If your audience doesn’t have faith in you, then they won’t have faith in your product. As you can imagine, a lack of faith can lead to a lack of sales. In order for the audience to commit to your product, then they must be able to trust the presenters, and feel comfortable that other audience members feel the same. Testimonials, reviews and previous successes are a large driving force behind a person’s trust.

Many presentations will be tailored to a specific audience, so you may find that different presentations may include different factors from both informative and persuasive presentations. Both types of presentation should include a call-to-action towards the end. This could be to buy a product, contribute or for the audience to put what they have learned into practice.

Seven Successful Presentation Tips

  • Build trust with your audience

I want you all to sit back, close your eyes and imagine… “

Have you ever had a speaker ask you to do that? I love looking around to see how many people are “peeking” or just looking at their laps.

When you ask the audience to shut their eyes you are asking them to have an extreme amount of trust in you. You better be sure you have earned that trust or you will really put people off.

The other day I ordered a sandwich on French bread. The sandwich man took out the bread, started to cut it and then tossed it out. He looked at me and said, “If I wouldn’t eat it I don’t serve it. The bread is too hard. Would you like to make another choice?” I loved it!

He built trust by being straightforward; he didn’t bash his company and he gave me an option.

Whatever you ask your audience to do make sure you would be willing to do it if you were a shy person or a skeptical person. Those are your two toughest audiences. Build trust with your audience by being vulnerable yourself.

  • Develop consistency

You develop consistency by ensuring that you are clear on what you are speaking about and why it is important to your audience.

Once you have this clarity, you will find that your own character and integrity will shine through. This constancy in character, integrity, and body language is what will give all of your presentations the consistency you desire.

So how can you develop consistency in presentations to include an entire sales or management team?

It actually follows the exact same principle. The very first presentation needs to be clear on the outcome desired and why it’s important to the audience. If this is focused, and your presentation follows the Outcome FocusĀ® Approach, you can literally have hundreds of people delivering the same presentation in their own authentic manner and achieve consistent results.

  • Eliminate awkward pauses

I have a friend that had one of his speeches recorded. When he got it back he was impressed with how smoothly it all went. See he really thought he had conquered the problem and that he spoke that day without any awkward sounds or pauses… until he got the “out takes”. The sound company had cut all of his “ahs,” “umms,” and awkward throat clearings and then put them on one CD for him. It ran for almost 9 minutes straight of those awkward sounds!! He just about died.

What you want to recognize is that those awkward pauses and sounds are YOUR BRAINS way of transitioning what you are saying. Literally it is the gate in your brain from one channel to the next opening up as it moves along. It is something you can get rid of but it requires practice.

At our presentation skills training, we have had people go from 42 of these awkward pauses in 5 minutes of speaking down to only 2 in just a few hours. There is a way to get rid of them. It will require you to have a friend work with you on raising your brain’s awareness of when you use them and how you use them. Literally you are going to bring it from your unconscious mind to your conscious mind where you can make the change.

Here is the easy way to get rid of them:

  • Pick a silent signal someone will use to let you know that you just used an awkward transition word. Using a raised pencil or a finger on your cheek are good ones to use because you can do them in a meeting where the speaker can see them but no one else can.
  • When you see the signal just look down to the right and re-frame what you were saying.

You will find that if you do this about 8 times by the eighth time you will have virtually eliminated the awkward sounds from your speaking.

Test it out today and see how you do!

  • Make sure your posture and body language enhance your presentation

Your posture should convey confidence, poise, and credibility. In order to do this your shoulders should be slightly back, your weight should be evenly distributed between your feet, your legs should be no further apart than your shoulder width, and your hands should be either at your side, at your waist, or one hand at your waist one at your side.

Make sure your shoulders are not stiff and square, don’t turtle your head forward, don’t stare or blink excessively, and do not lean on the podium.

Record yourself presenting so you can see if your body language conveys poise and confidence by looking relaxed yet powerful.

  • Make it comfortable to ask questions

When a person continually stops you with questions when you are giving a presentation, you can end up losing your pacing and losing the rest of the group. In a large group situation, you want to make the questioner as comfortable as possible while you keep the pace for the rest of the group.

If you are working with a person one-on-one and you feel they have the brains to capture exactly what you’re saying, but for some reason they don’t understand you, stop and ask the person, “How can I explain this to make it easier for you to grasp?”

You may find that you are explaining it in too much detail, not enough detail, or that you are not tying all the different pieces together so it makes sense for this individual. You may also find that they just want more hands-on experience. Let the person talk and share with you how they learn and what you can do to teach them in their style instead of yours. If all else fails, you may want to see if there’s someone else that they could partner with.

  • Be clear on expectations so people take action

In order for others to clearly act on what you said they need to clearly understand the “why” of what they are doing. So be clear about WHY you are presenting and HOW you expect the listener to utilize what you share. Keep it simple and focused on the audience, not you.

For example, there is a big difference in what I will say if I am looking to have you grow sales with new accounts versus if I want you to grow existing accounts. The activities I emphasize to have you do will not be the same. I should also be clear on WHY I want you to grow the accounts as well as HOW to do it. Most likely I will invite you in to the HOW process so you own it rather than me.

Lack of clarity is one of the big reasons why people don’t take action on what you say. Remember the brain can easily focus on three things at one time. Once you get past that people have a tendency to take NO ACTION and stay status quo instead. So keep it simple, keep it focused, and keep it about them and not you.

  • Keep it fresh, not scripted

Have you ever gotten ready to do a big presentation and you script it all out? What happens that makes that NOT work?

When you script something out your brain literally “reads” it in your mind before you say it. So if you hit a wrong word your brain “freezes” on you and it can take a long while to get back on track.

For your audience scripting can make you seem flat because your voice may become more stagnate or you can seem unauthentic because you seem too “practiced.”

So what should you do instead?

I recommend that instead of scripting you do bullet points. Make sure any stories of analogies you will use you have the “key points” in bullet point so you can incorporate them all. Then allow your brain to freely tell the story and points as you need to in that moment with that audience.

This keeps you authentically involved with your current audience and your current material. It also keeps you from getting “brain fades” where your brain freezes because you switched words around or the order of what you say.

Now having said all that, I still recommend that you practice your first 10 minutes of your speech so you develop your own rhythm and flow. That will allow you to focus on the audience rather than on what you are going to say next.

The Christmas Present

I always loved things with wheels. The greatest thrill for me was climbing into my wagon, giving a little push and off I went, down the longest hill in the world. I knew that any slight twitch on the handle would send me spinning on to the unforgiving concrete, ripping open my nine year old knees and elbows, but that made it just that much more exciting. After the wagon had self destructed, I went looking for an old skate to make into a skate board. It would be fifty years before you could buy a skateboard in a store, but I didn’t want to wait. The front half of the clamp-on skate I nailed to one end of a two foot piece of two by four and the back two wheels to the other end. It wasn’t necessary, but since I wanted a deluxe model, I attached a vertical piece on the front for steering. Roller bearings souped up with a squirt from Dad’s oil can allowed a pretty decent speed down the hills.

My year younger brother and I didn’t have a bike, but Christmas was coming and you never know. We had just moved to a small four room bungalow and there was little
money for presents. We both pored over our Christmas lists, allotting two dollars to each family member. Storing the much folded list in my pocket, my mother took us to the local five and ten cent store to pick out our gifts. I usually tried to give two gifts, one hand made by myself and one store bought. I never had much faith in the hand made gifts and even to me they looked worthless. I don’t know what my father did with all those ties, gloves, and belts, but we had a great time giving them. My parents always waited for us to be in bed on Christmas Eve before they set up the tree and placed the presents. One reason was that my father waited until Christmas Eve to buy the tree. It seldom cost more than two dollars and copious amounts of aluminum icicles filled most of the spaces. We were too awed and happy to wonder where everything so suddenly came from to ask any questions. We chalked everything up to Santa Claus.

After getting about three hours sleep, my parents called us into the living room. There in front of a ceiling high Christmas tree stood the biggest bike I had ever seen. Gleaming black fenders covered fat white wall tires. A wire basket hung on the handle bars and a spring carrier sat on the back. All the chrome sparkled like new and the leather seat looked impossibly high. I don’t know if it was foresight or just luck, but I didn’t mind at all that it was a girl’s bike. I never could have mounted a boy’s bike, especially a twenty