Start Persuading Your Audience Before the Presentation

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Your presentation doesn’t start when you enter the room; it starts the moment you’ve committed to speak. If you take advantage of opportunities to reinforce your message before you take the stage, you’re much more likely to change people’s thinking and behavior.

Explain to your audience ahead of time how they will benefit from your talk. If you’re presenting to colleagues, you might e-mail them a summary of your message and a rough list of points you plan to cover, for example, or send a meeting request with a detailed agenda. If you’re going to speak to people from outside your organization— conference attendees, for instance—post your biography and talking points online and provide links to any pre-reading material.

Adapted from the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.

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