Remember this: ALL presentations are persuasive. Seeking funding? Talking to your boss? Speaking to peers at a scientific conference? All of us are trying to persuade someone to do something. The challenge is to do it without sounding like a used car salesman.

We are born persuading others to get what we want: Milk (crying). Cookies (pouting). Spouse / marriage (begging). It’s normal.

In none of these instances was it necessary to pull out our laptop or PowerPoint program. Without thinking, we employed simple techniques that we can apply to our next venture capital presentation or discussion for a raise.


Why can’t I have a cookie?


  • Don’t be Dr. Spock – In Star Trek, Spock was always about logic (Greek: logos). Persuasively speak to peoples’ emotions (pathos). People buy large homes, cars and 10 pairs of blacks heels because of how it makes them “feel.”
  • It’s About Them – As you speak, remember to speak to their wants, not yours. When you know what they want, tell them how what you would like to do benefits them.
  • Story Time – Don’t present a logical argument with facts, figures and statistically significant numbers. Tell your story in a way they can relate to and understand. Everyone remembers “The Three Bears.” Speak to be equally memorable.

One more thing: say it with passion. Your attitude and enthusiasm go a long way to persuade people. Smile. Encourage. Reaffirm their reason for listening to you. In the end, they’ll thank you for sharing.


Scientifically Speaking, of course.


Telling a better story…


Next Week: Practice Makes Perfect?