Attorney Persuasive Presentation Tips

Attorney Persuasive Presentation Tips

James Feldman, MBA

Time to read: 2 minutes

No matter what you do, as an attorney, you are always trying to persuade someone that your idea, service, or an opinion is in their best interest to accept it. Attorneys give presentations to influence others – to convince them to hire them, to persuade them about an issue, to get them to agree to a new negotiation or settlement direction, to deliver such a compelling presentation that you have convinced them to take your opinion.  

Every day all of us attempt to make a compelling reason to our children, family, friends, significant others, that what we think requires sharing and influence. WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME (WIIFM) is the tipping point for most of these persuasive presentations.

(For this article I will use the word Client to represent everyone that you want to convince: clients, jurors, judges, prospects, attorneys, family, and friends.)

The goal of a persuasive presentation is simple: to change the belief, perception, or opinion related to a topic or issue by your Client. Not only does it challenge their assessment and perhaps make them uncomfortable or defensive it is asking them to shift their thinking to align with yours.

The following tips will help you improve your persuasive presentation skills and your competitive advantage. First of all, TELL your clients not try to sell them on the idea. No one wants to be sold to, but they do like to agree with people they trust. It’s all about TRUST. Persuasive presentation success goals are when a Client thinks that your idea is their idea. Somehow you merely brought it to the surface.

Using visual tools like PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides, or Prezi are wondering if, and only if, they support you, not replace you, as the thought leader. Please point out the cause and effect of your opinion and how it is the solution to the articulated problem.

What are the primary characteristics that make us able to effect a change in our Clients? The four elements below have one thing in common: genuine emotion. Think of your persuasive presentation as a chance to showcase who you are and what you know to make a connection, plead your case and compel them to action.

  1. Credibility.
  2. Honesty.
  3. Connection.
  4. Action.

The days of "Perry Mason" getting someone to collapse under examination and deliver the last-minute confession might happen, but you can’t rely on it.  Presentations should be backed by data, quotes, real-life events, statistics, and quotes to become more persuasive. From determining which movie to watch to where to dine we are constantly persuading others to believe you and accept your thoughts.  Organization of your beliefs into a cohesively and coherently transition from what they think to what you want them to feel should smoothly guide them into agreeing with you.

Most effective presentations demand careful planning and facts that convince your Clients that you have identified the WIIFM.  A few steps may help your efficient presentation process.

1. Make your message specific to one offering. Effective persuasive presentations are about providing one idea.

2. Target each Client with WIIFM. There are many Client types to consider, including the prospect, juror, other attorneys, channel partner, industry analyst, investor so that the messaging resonates with each specific WIIFM and perspective.

3. Answer the Clients’ primary questions. "Why should I accept your solution rather than a competitive option?"

4. Understand both the thought cycles "What's in it for me? (WIIFM) Why should I shift from what I currently think or do accept your opinion?"  "What if I don’t agree?"

5. Determine the potent differentiation factor. Usually one or two are the critical WIIFM tipping points.

  1. TIME
  2. MONEY
  3. RISK

Just like crayons in a box, we tend to collect lots of 'colors' but only use a few. Same with Clients. They have lots of objections to muddy the water, but in reality, there are only one or two that provide the 'real' reason they will or won't accept your opinion.

6. Apply the "Ying and yang factor" Numerous studies conclude that the brain comprehends best when presented with a clear difference. Statements like "We are one of the leading..." isn't as compelling as "We are the leader in ..." The more different adjectives like only, fastest, easiest, they will help you to create a powerful, persuasive message.

7. Test against the "me, too factor." To have a genuinely useful persuasive message, especially for your competitive differentiation, no other attorney should be able to make the same claims that you do. The Client must perceive that is different from all other competitive options.

Organization of a Persuasive Presenter

  1. It’s your first and best opportunity to establish rapport with your Clients.
  2. Your Clients are paying maximum attention at this point.
  3. Your credibility and your Clients’ trust in you start here.
  4. Your tone and "flavor" as a persuasive presenter must be established.
  5. You either demonstrate that you're going to be exciting or not. They sense the WIIFM…or not. If you make them work too hard for the answer to the WIIFM, they turn off. Their thoughts wander. Moreover, you lose momentum.

Captivating Your Client

  1. Eye Contact is a must. Look at them. Have a conversation with them.
  2. Have fun. If you are not having fun, the Client isn't either.
  3. Smile. People don't trust others that don't smile.
  4. Energize your voice.
  5. Be aware of your nonverbal message.
  6. Make it personal. Address what's in it for them to listen to you.

Outline of Persuasive Presentation

  1. Purposes: What you want to accomplish throughout your presentation. Articulate the problem. Demonstrate the benefit to your solution.
  2. Proposition: A combination of your powerful statement and what action you want your Client to take.
  3. Awareness: Keep your Client’s attention. Don’t let them wander. Stay focused.
  4. Need: Convincing your Client that this is a problem and that your change is necessary. All focused on your focusing on their WIIFM.
  5. Satisfaction: How the Client will benefit from this change?
  6. Depiction: Paint a verbal picture for the Client WIIFM if they accept your proposal or deny your motion.
  7. Action: Hit the bullseye. Specifically, tell what actions the Clients should take.    

3P’s of Persuasive Presentations: Practice. Practice. Practice

To learn more about how you can improve your persuasive presentations, call us at 858-638-8260 or email Mike Adams at

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