Building a Business Case

Leadership Communication

In a typical presentation, people compile a set of information in order to try to persuade or influence their listeners. But this is seldom effective. Audiences need to understand a logical flow of points brought to life by credible examples, research and relevant stories. They will only engage with an argument if it becomes real in their minds or relates to their personal experience.

So how do you go about building a persuasive case?

Establish your claims

Once you have created a clear structure for your message, the next step is to build your case. This will consist of claims or assertions which you want your audience to believe. They may be fact or opinion. The collection of claims will become the argument or business case.

Back them up with evidence

To make your claims convincing and memorable you need to back them up with evidence. There are many ways to do this:

»  Verbal or visual metaphors

»  Research data, statistics

»  Stories and anecdotes

Each way will have a different effect. Metaphors for example will help your audience to see what you mean; research data and statistics, used in moderation, will support your point by appealing to the reason/logic of your audience; stories and anecdotes can more powerfully communicate an idea or illustrate a vision.

Stories actually engage the brain differently from logic, in particular the parts of the brain which deal with experience and imagination. A relevant story will interest people and often add an emotional force to your message. Your choice of story will also frame your subject by example. Stories about personal experiences will contribute to the perception your audience has of you (your ethos), add to your authenticity and help you to get audience buy-in.

Explain the significance

Finally, the evidence you choose to back up your points will need explanation: what is it’s significance?

This simple, structured approach will provide your audience with shortcuts to understanding - and make your argument convincing and memorable.


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