Persuasive Professional Presentations: Start with Why

In the last few months here at SlideRabbit, we’ve had an influx of clients looking to revamp the narratives of their professional presentations – in particular, their pitch decks. These pitches range from new business to investor search to non-profit fundraising. But they all have this in common: These presentations are meant to convince, rather than just inform.

When writing a professional presentation where the goal is buy-in from your audience, clients often make the mistake of starting with the dryest and most straightforward information. These slides (think: The Team, About Us, etc) are the least emotionally moving of all the content. So why do people tend to start there? Probably because they feel safe and concrete. They allow our speaker to warm up.

But here’s the thing: Persuasive professional presentations should never be about the speaker. They should be about the audience.

Re-center your narrative on your clients problems, solutions, desires and goals. Watch how that change in focus will turn a pitch into a conversation and, hopefully, a sale. We previously shared an infographic with a recipe for the perfect pitch deck, which relates mostly to new business pitches. How can we generalize that approach to apply it to all persuasive decks?

During this current rash of pitch deck help inquiries, I’ve been looking for new ways to communicate to clients the importance of starting with the problem you will solve. Eventually I came across Simon Sinek’s Ted talk, Start with Why:

Simon does an excellent job of explaining why the problem you are solving and your aspirational reason for wanting to solve it will get you better buy in than a cold reading of the facts. Explain to your audience why you’ve found enough passion in this arena to make it into a calling.

Clients love to see passion. Investors love to see passion. Donors love to see passion.

The Why of our presentations allow our audiences a glimpse into our thoughts. It gives them a chance to connect with us emotionally; to share our motivations. If we can start on this common ground, convincing them to come along with us for the rest of the journey will be that much easier.

Need help reworking the narrative for your next persuasive deck? Drop us a line!

And don’t forget to attend our free slide design webinar, presented in conjunction with PresentationXpert. Design Tricks to Slim Down Your Content will be August 24th at 2pm eastern. Click here to register!