Max‑impact presenting

14th Nov 2022

Bernard Savage sets out how to make every conversation a conversion.


Human beings are emotional animals. And when it comes to talks, pitches and presentations, presenting logical arguments alone will not always effect the desired change you are looking for.

If you want to influence your audience, there are five key things to remember.

1. Emotion first, logic second

Whether your audience is made up of business owners, IP practitioners, investors or in‑house counsel, they have one thing in common – they are all humans.

This means that you need to find an emotional connection with them at the start of any communication, whatever the channel or format. You can do this by:

  • building rapport through open and warm body language, eg, smiling and making eye contact;
  • finding common ground (personal or professional); and
  • using stories to make your content more interesting, personable and memorable.

2. The presenter is remembered long after the content

Research indicates that people are easily distracted when listening to talks.

Regrettably, much of what you say will be forgotten by your audience. What is less likely to be forgotten is the presenter.

You can use this insight to your advantage by focusing your energy on making your audience like you. Warmth, openness, and friendliness are key here.

By appearing comfortable in your own skin, you will better connect with listeners and they are more likely to connect with you.

3. Make what you say “sticky”

The nature of IP is that your content will not necessarily be received at the best time – for example, at the moment when your listener is selecting an IP adviser, planning a business sale or engaging with an investor.

This means that you need to have a lasting impact on client conversations so that you are remembered when trade marks, design, image rights, brand protection and/or copyright are eventually discussed.

Marketing experts call this making your content “sticky”.

4. It’s not about you

It’s about your audience.

To influence your audience, start by finding out what their issues and goals are. Framing your content in line with what is important to them means you are more likely to be listened to attentively and successful in selling your idea.

In planning any talk, understand that your audience’s motivators are based on: financial goals (eg, increasing the value of a business on its sale); making things easy (eg, saving time, energy and aggro); and a feeling of safety (eg, ensuring that their ideas are protected from competition).

5. Always close with a call to action

Even good presenters too often forget to tell their audience exactly what they want them to do next.

When wrapping up a talk, pitch or presentation, set out clear and easy next steps.

You might want to: suggest connecting on LinkedIn; agree a date/time for a follow‑up meeting; ask for a business card; create a sense of urgency and/or scarcity by presenting a deadline for the next step; or discuss the opportunity for a small commitment (perhaps a pilot scheme). 

Bernard Savage is a Director at Size 10½ Boots

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