Excerpted from Present Like a Pro: The Field Guide to Mastering the Art of Business, Professional, and Pubic Speaking by Cyndi Maxey and Kevin E. O'Connor.
Your truth is in your argument and knowledge. How does a speaker find truth? Sometimes you may need to research and document to prove your points—in a sales presentation, for example. Other times you may not need intense research to support your thoughts. As long as you present evidence of the truth in the best way you know how, you demonstrate logos, or your reasoning. If you don't present with reason, the audience will quickly dismiss you as unqualified to speak. A minister or priest speaks with the evidence of the Bible. A professor brings research and case studies. An introducer brings knowledge of the speaker being introduced. Any talk, no matter how long, is truth telling. The more clarity to the truth you tell, the more convinced your audience is of your message.
Your emotional appeal is in your audience's hearts and minds. Of the three powers, this is the least predictable. You can learn to share your character and select your arguments more readily than you can pick up on the nuances of an audience.
How will they react? What will they feel? What will they think? This power is perfected only by practice and listening to feedback—over and over again. If you really listen, you'll realize that your audiences are talking to you all the time—before, during, and after your presentation.
The true pro becomes adept at continuously gathering this information ... day after day, speech after speech. It's best to avoid attempting to speak to any audience without first meeting them. Perfect opportunities include: at the dinner the night before, at breakfast the day of your presentation, moments before you go on. Your best opportunity is to approach audience members with a smile and a handshake and even ask the audience for their "burning questions," questions that bring out what the audience really wants to learn from your talk. All of these are vital methods used by the most successful of presenters who never forget this essential third element.
A presentation is an exercise in the acknowledgment of power.
Copyright (c) 2006 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Griffin. Available July 11th 2006 wherever books are sold.