88% of people are concerned about fake news – and with good reason

QUESTION – how do I present to win?

THOUGHT – support your assumptions and assertions factually

There was a time when a big statement made in a presentation tended to be believed. Presenters were viewed as knowledgeable and bold statements were seen as engaging. This is no longer the case. Presenters are more often than not seen as salespeople and big statements are at best viewed as requiring substantiation or authentication.

The facts are however, that presenters do tend to be salespeople and with the proliferation of fake news, we have all become more sceptical – as indeed we should. I never accept anything I hear in a presentation at face value. I want, like most people – evidence to support all contentions.

A recent study found that some 88% of people are now concerned about fake news, and as a result, more sceptical about what they read and hear. As a result, most people in most audiences will want, or at least respond positively to evidence supporting the statements made in that presentation.

Not only will this build credibility, but as a recent study found, evidence has the capacity to boost retention on the content of presentations by 20%.

Now don’t get me wrong. Great speeches are not built on evidence. Great speeches are built on emotion, because it is emotion that attracts and holds attention and inspires the feelings that facilitate engagement. Indeed, as noted in a previous THOUGHT only 7% of the impact of a speech comes from the content, while 38% comes from tone and 55% comes from the presentation.
That said, having appealed to the emotions a great presentation offers the evidence that supports the statements made and in so doing boost:

  • Credibility
  • Retention

A winning presentation is built on emotional engagement, while supported by well presented, engaging and credible facts. Ideally, at least insofar as a written document or slide show is concerned well presented and engaging facts ideally take to form of:

  • Single statistics
  • Simple graphs
  • Infographics

All too often, and at the detriment of the overall presentation, evidence is presented in a complex series of statistics, complex tables or complicated graphs that need a lot of explanation. Wherever possible statistics and facts in general should be presented as simply as possible so that they can be easily consumed without a detailed explanation.

Factual support also often takes the form of quotes from third parties. Where such quotes are used, it is important that they are short, from a credible source and absolutely relevant. Quotes that are not 100% relevant and from a credible source add nothing and can take away from the overall credibility of the presentation.


Build your speech on an emotional foundation, but support core statements with the facts necessary to establish credibility (avoiding accusations of fake news) and maximise retention.

Make sure that all facts are presented in a way that makes the easy to consumer and easy to understand with out a detailed explanation. Ensure relevance to maximise credibility.


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MORE THOUGHTS – www.djohncarlsonesq.com

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