Context Drives Content in Convincing Presentations

June 18, 2018

By Jonathan Holburt


A presentation may seem like a straightforward task: You have something to say and the audience is there to listen to you. But following a structured process will create a convincing presentation. The Greek playwright Euripides advised, "A bad beginning makes a bad ending." So, start off in the right way to get the right outcome.

Before you start writing, do a bit of research on your audience. You may be speaking on the same topic to different audiences — say, launching a new product promotion — but as your audience changes from one decision gate to another, so should your presentation. Ask yourself these questions so you can tailor your presentation to always make it convincing:

  • Who is the key decision maker? If you don't get them on your side, your product promotion won't happen.
  • What about the people who influence the key decision maker? If they're not convinced, it's likely that the key decision maker won't be either.
  • What does your audience know about you, your expertise, and your topic? If they don't find you credible on the topic, then they're not likely to find your presentation convincing.
  • What are their expectations of you? Are you there to just present about the new product promotion while someone else does the work or will you "own" the project and make it happen?
  • What are your key decision maker's issues and concerns? They may be peripheral to your topic or central to it, but somehow your presentation needs to address them in order to win that person over.

Because presentations are essential in business today, you will need to present your ideas in a way to move them forward. How you convey your information and compel your points is so important to convincing your audience.

Remember, the presentation isn't over after the last slide. To convince your audience you will need to be ready for their questions. Often, well-written and delivered presentations fall apart when the presenter isn't prepared for the audience's questions.

Structured presentations with a presenter able to answer questions leads to more productivity and efficiency. If you can convince your audience the first time you present, that will make everyone happy. Especially you.

To learn more, take the ANA's new on-demand training course, Presentation Writing and Delivery to Convey, Compel and Convince. This course is available and complimentary to client-side marketer members only.


Jonathan Holburt is the founder of Holburt Consulting and ANA Faculty. He has worked as an agency business director with a number of Fortune 500 companies while employed at leading multinational ad agencies in Asia-Pacific. Jonathan currently has advisory roles at two start-ups in the U.S. He is a book author and has been published in various international publications and major news outlets.

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