What’s the Source of Your Presentation Power?

When you makes a product service or idea, you presentation goal is to influence the other party. The power of the presentation depends on understanding the source(s) of your power and constructing a compelling case for it. For instance, the powers you marshal for an audience that is receptive to your proposition may differ from those you use to a hostile audience.

There are seven bases of power, according to Situational Leadership, and you should be aware of which you’re using in the presentation to maximize its effectiveness. They are:

  • Coercive – based on the audience’s fear of you and/or your message
  • Connection – based on the your connections to others
  • Expert – based on knowledge and skills
  • Information  –  based on your access to valuable information
  • Legitimate – based on your position relative to the other party
  • Referent – based on your likeability
  • Reward – based on your ability to hand out rewards, in the form of money or other incentives

To deliver an ADAP – Audience-Driven, Authentic Presentation – requires you understand the relationship you have with your audience and which power will have what effect.  For instance, an audience that doesn’t view you as a legitimate source, is unlikely to be influenced by mere information; they also won’t trust you if you lack referent power.  All things being equal, providing compelling information, demonstrating your expertise, and highlighting the rewards that the audience will get for following on your advice, are likely to produce the desired actions.

So the next time you present, consider where you and your audience stand in relationship to each other and the topic at hand. Then draft a presentation that demonstrates the powers that will have influence.

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