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HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations (HBR Guide Series) by Nancy Duarte

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Understand the Audience’s Power

When you walk into a room as a presenter, it’s easy to feel as if you’re in a position of power: You’re up front, perhaps even elevated on a stage, and people came to hear you speak. In reality, though, you’re not the star of the show. The audience is.

Why? The people you’re addressing will determine whether your idea spreads or dies, simply by embracing or rejecting it. You need them more than they need you. Since they have that control, it’s crucial to be humble in your approach. Use their desires and goals as a filter for everything you present.

Presenters tend to be self-focused. They have a lot to say, they want to say it well, and they have little time to prepare. These pressures make them forget what’s important ...

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