Speak to the Sceptics
Have you ever had a bit of doubt when a speaker or a sales person makes a bold statement or claim during their presentation? It is human nature that people will always be a bit sceptical.
When a speaker makes a statement that this product “X” will help you to lose 5kg in 5 weeks guaranteed, people will be interested but also sceptical. Making big bold statements in a presentation is simply not enough.
The Golden Rule: Speak to the sceptics before they speak to you.
It is important when you design your presentation to cover both sides of the argument. If you make a bold statement and you know people will question this statement or there might be doubt in your audience’s mind, it is critical to address that uncertainty immediately. This helps you keep credibility with your audience.
For example: if you are talking about fundraising for an orphanage house and you make a statement that 100% of the proceeds go to this orphanage house, there will be some people thinking, but who is paying for the printing, the salaries, the website hosting etc.
Average presenters will make statements and rush through their presentation. Seasonal presenters make statements and immediately speak to the sceptics. As a speaker you can say: yes, you heard correctly, 100%! That means every single dollar you donate will go directly to the orphanage house. We are lucky to have five major sponsors that cover everything from printing, salaries, website hosting, and all our other overheads. So every dollar you donate today will go directly to the orphanage house.
It is very important to address the sceptics, especially if you’re doing a sales presentation were you are explaining what your products & services can do for your potential buyer. While designing your presentation, think about the counter arguments your prospects might have and design your presentation to cover those arguments in a positive way.
Speaking to the sceptics is also a good method to manage expectations and clear up miss-conceptions. For example: you make a statement that the latest mobile phone battery can last up to 12 days. Trust me, people will be sceptical, even I will be. Before these sceptics’ start to think that you are exaggerating or you do not have all your facts right, this is the perfect time to speak to the sceptics and to manage their expectations. If you don’t, you also run the risk of losing credibility with your audience.
You can say the following to speak to the sceptics: I know this is a bold statement and mobile phone batteries normally last 1 to 2 day maximum. This battery will last for 12 days if you do not make calls and use any applications on your phone, plus you activate the power saver option. Now I agree, people have a mobile phone to use it and not to leave it on a desk or in a drawer. So, to give you a realistic indication of the battery life with average use of your phone, the battery will last 8 days and with very high usage, the battery will still last 5 days. I don’t know about you, but 5 days of battery life with very high usage is still impressive.
So, you can see that speaking to sceptics is extremely important in a speech, pitch or presentation. Think about bold statements in your presentation and write down how you can speak to your sceptics. Some people write down their entire presentation, and afterwards look at points that might cause sceptics to doubt and then edit their presentation to clear up any uncertainty. I would highly encourage you to speak to the sceptics before they speak to you.
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