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Psychological Hacks for Extra Persuasive Presentations

by Adam Noar

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

It’s not always easy to get people to accept your ideas during your presentation.

Or is it?

Well, it turns out, you can dramatically increase your presentation persuasiveness by incorporating a few psychological hacks (backed by research) that will have your viewers saying “yes” all the way through your slide deck.

Let’s begin!

#1.) Use Testimonials to Retain Your Audience

One of the best ways to make your presentation more believable is to show testimonials and reviews from real people who have experienced your product or service.

Your audience will find it much easier to say “yes” when they see other people’s positive experience with the same product or service. And this fact is also proved by a 2013 market research survey which reports that 90% of customers make their buying decisions after they study online reviews.

Influencer Presentation Template

Prism Presentation Template 

When thinking about testimonials try to incorporate ones from “regular” customers.

And if you don’t know how to get them, ask a customer to leave his comment on the purchased product or service in return for a discount on the next order.

#2.) Repeat One Idea Several Times to Drive Home Your Message

What do the following statements all have in common?:

“You only use 10 percent of your brain.”

“Eating carrots improves your eyesight.”

“Vitamin C cures the common cold.”

They’re all untrue statements.

But the facts don’t actually matter: People repeat them so often that you believe them.

This “power of repetition” can do wonders for a presentation.

Research shows that there is a glitch in the human psyche called the Illusory Truth Effect that equates repetition with truth and that people rate repeated sentences as true more often.

The effect works because when people attempt to assess truth they rely on two things: whether the information jibes with their understanding, and whether it feels familiar. The first condition is logical: People compare new information with what they already know to be true and consider the credibility of both sources. But researchers have found that familiarity can trump rationality—so much so that hearing over and over again that a certain fact is wrong can have a paradoxical effect. It’s so familiar that it starts to feel right.

Here are a few ways you can use repetition in your presentation:

1) Create a powerful tagline for your presentation and repeat it several times throughout your talk

2) Show a powerful image (or set of images) throughout your presentation

3) Harness the power of three as people tend to remember things better when they are presented in sets of three.

#3.) Catch your Visitor’s Eye with the High-Quality Images

People buy with their eyes.

The more thought you put into your images the more head nods you will see from your audience. As we have said a million times, people are highly visual creatures and are incredible at remembering pictures. Based on the research from John Medina, if you only hear a piece of information, three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.

Do Business Presentation Template

Adding pictures is easier said than done. You have to very particular about your images and not just go with the first one that seems like it may fit.

If you need a good place to start when finding images for your presentation, check out this article.

#4.) Touch your Audience’s Emotions

Maya Angelou once said, “people may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

When you give a presentation, you need to captivate your audience. Just like a good movie or TV show, appealing to people’s emotions can help you engage them.

Prism Presentation Template 

Here are a few ways you can incorporate more emotion into your presentation:

1) Look for really bold images that capture the essence of what you are trying to say. For example, an image of an otter covered in oil may be shown to residents along the Gulf Coast to invoke guilt or anger toward big oil companies.

2) Incorporate a short video clip about your product, service, idea, etc. Here’s a great example of an emotional sizzle reel from Apple.

3) Tell a heartfelt story about how you got started, how you came up with your product idea, or perhaps your vision for the future.

#5.) Make your Most Important Point First

According to the serial position effect, ideas presented first are more easily recalled than ideas presented in the middle and conclusion of your presentation. In addition, ideas that are presented at the end of your presentation are more memorable than ideas presented in the middle of your presentation.

Eureka Presentation Template

So, what does this mean for your presentation?

Focus on presenting your most important idea first, and then using the middle of your presentation to flesh out your main idea. In addition, consider repeating your main idea again (see tip #2) during the middle and at the end of your presentation.


Persuasive presentations are often difficult to deliver successfully. Luckily, there are several different psychological strategies/hacks (like the ones discussed in this article) that can be used to help get your message across effectively.

What hack did you find most helpful? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know below.

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