Logic and emotion are a winning combination in a presentation.

Emotion is of course crucial in a presentation.

If your presentation is pure logic, stuffed with fact after fact, evidence, and statistics, it will be difficult for your audience to relate to it.

They will be informed but disconnected. This is not a presentation they will rush to share with their colleagues or bring up in key discussions. And nor will it necessarily be particularly memorable.

A presentation hits home when an audience can relate to it, through storytelling and the personality of the presenter.

storytelling in a presentationHowever, a presentation without evidence and logic also has its flaws. Your audience might feel warmly about your presentation but without memorable evidence to back it up they are left with nothing to hold on to afterwards.

It’s all show with no substance.

Evidence in a presentation is used to prove an argument being made by an individual or group. Alternatively, evidence can be used to disprove or refute a fact or argument people disagree with or hold to be false.

In order to persuade any internal or external audience, you need a combination of compelling evidence and effective storytelling, topped off with exceptional delivery.

So how do you bring evidence to the table?

The best way to incorporate evidence is to be selective. Quality rather than quantity. Less is more.

Instead of amassing as many facts as possible to prove your credentials, and bolster your argument, focus on a few strong ones that support your claim.

The power of 3 is a useful technique for this.

Your audience will retain three key points rather than many. Which are your three key points?

If you need ideas, we are surrounded by 3s in branding, messaging in our everyday lives. ⠀

Quick examples: ⠀⠀

Nike: ‘Just do it’⠀

just do it nikeMcDonalds: ‘I’m loving it’⠀

Three blind mice⠀

The Holy Trinity⠀

ABC⠀⠀

Location location location⠀

‘See it, Say it, sorted’⠀

‘Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives’.

What kind of evidence is compelling and credible?

Naturally, not all evidence is equal – and what makes evidence compelling and credible will vary vastly depending on the point you are trying to make, and on your audience.

For example, if you want to demonstrate that your brand of sponge is popular to an audience of fathers, then survey results of 300 men, or the testimonial of a dad could count as great evidence.

If you are trying to persuade your audience about the dangers of a brand of sponge, that same evidence won’t cut muster. You’d need more scientifically rigorous data. A peer reviewed paper perhaps, or a quote from a leading scientist.

A few more good practices to check your evidence is reliable:

  • If you’ve obtained the quote or statistic from an online list, find out where it originally came from and check if it is accurately represented. It’s easy for messages to get distorted that way, and you don’t want to be at the end of a long Telephone Game.
  • In an era of fake news, double check that your source is credible. There are a few online guides to help you to detect whether you are dealing with a real or fake news story.
  • Check the date. This might seem obvious, but it’s worth doing! If your topic is topical, it’s not a good look to use supporting evidence from 2004 unknowingly.

Following the above steps will support your credibility.

Make it visual

Whilst testimonials can be convincing evidence, visuals are everything in a presentation, whether offline or online.

Making your evidence come to life visually will help your audience take in your message easily and effortlessly, especially if it is supported by exceptional delivery.

Ask yourself:

  • Can these statistics be turned into a chart?
  • Can these survey results be represented by an image?
  • What is the core message from a set of stats?

If you are sharing facts that have percentages in them, give each one its space in a slide, as with the example below.

visual statistics in presentations powepoint

An example of making statistics pop visually

So, there you have it – Habit 9 of The 12 Habits of Exceptional Presenters – Provide compelling and credible evidence. Evidence is used to back up or refute arguments, and it helps our audiences to make decisions at work. Using evidence allows us to work out what is effective and what is not and is critical to providing a persuasive presentation.

Want to find out more about the other 11 Habits of Exceptional Presenters?

You can download my guide to the 12 Habits of Exceptional Presenters right here.

Did you know we have a LinkedIn page and an Instagram page now? Follow us for more advice to improve your presentations!

12 habits of exceptional presenters