The Secret to a Convincing Presentation (Hint: It doesn't happen during the delivery.)

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The Secret to a Convincing Presentation

You pitched your idea with a perfect PowerPoint. You rehearsed thoroughly, and your delivery was impeccable.

Yet too many in your audience remained skeptical of your proposal. Not only didn’t they ask good questions, they seemed not to be paying attention to your brilliant defense in the first place.

Meanwhile, your colleague who stumbled through their presentation and didn’t even explain their idea very clearly seemed to garner the most support from the room. It seems like magic.

What happened?

How was their presentation so much more successful than yours, when it was arguably a poorer performance?

The secret to a convincing presentation happens long before the group assembles in the conference room.

It happens in the days and weeks beforehand in a process often called prewiring.

This is when you share your proposal, in raw form, one-on-one, with each person who needs to approve. You listen to their objections and then negotiate with them in private. Sometimes that means changing your proposal. Sometimes that means making other concessions or exchanging favors.

This may require several iterations.

But by the time you’re delivering your presentation, your stakeholders should already know what’s in it, and should already be prepared to support you.

When you’ve prewired your proposal, your presentation – and people’s response to it – can look like magic.

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