Unleash the Power of Emotions in your Presentation

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou, Author and Poet

Have you ever watched a docile crowd turn into an aggressive mob during a rousing speech by their leader? Did a charity’s social message ever inspire you to start caring about an issue?

Why do you think these messages had such an impact?

In both instances, the speaker’s emotions played an important role. The messages either touched a raw nerve or played on a dormant feeling within the audience.


According to Aristotle, you need all three of these elements to persuade your audience:

  1. Ethos (ethics) makes people trust you.
  2. Pathos (emotions) appeals to their better nature.
  3. Lagos (logic) offers them necessary proof to make up their minds.

If people are turning up for your presentation, you already have ethos covered.

No presentation is complete without incorporating lagos. When you state your ideas, you’re required to provide statistics or otherwise support your claims.

However, logical reasoning, data, and facts are simply not enough. Presentations that make data their focus tend to rapidly lose their audience.

But why is this the case? It would stand to reason that if you list every single benefit of your brand or product, your audience should be convinced, right? Wrong.

Scientific studies have demonstrated that pathos wins hands down when it comes to decision-making, not lagos.


* Emotions help your audience remember your content. Pepper your presentation with emotional hooks. Then an audience will be more likely to retain your core message, undertake your call to action, or follow your roadmap.

* Emotional cues (in the form of visuals, storytelling, or analogies) distract your audience from the fact that you are trying to sell them something.

* Emotions help the audience relate to you and truly listen to your argument. They will even cause them to allow themselves to be manipulated.


Want to capture your audience’s attention? Use your slides to trigger the right emotions at the right time.

  1. Focus on their pain points by using emotions like fear, anger, jealousy, or sadness. Before you emphasize your points with facts, remind them of the solution. Get their attention, and convert these negatives into positive ones. Give them hope, relief, or confidence. Then they’ll be more inclined to take action.
  2. Surprise your audience with new facts or remind them of forgotten ones. Make them curious about your idea, and hook them in. As they open their minds to your way of doing things, they’ll be inspired to follow suit.

Your call to action should play on their anxiety. Then they’ll participate in this new process.

How can you paint a picture of what lies ahead, rather than just providing information?

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