When presenting to a small or large group of people you want to achieve something – persuade them, inspire them, motivate them, etc. Having this in mind is the basic premise of any presentation, and whatever your objective is, you will only succeed if you tick off two important boxes, which the audience will be looking for if they should be convinced by you:

Firstly, you need to demonstrate authority by making sure the audience understand that you actually know (hopefully quite a lot) about the topic of your presentation. And don’t assume that everyone in the audience is convinced just because you have been invited to talk about that topic, so take time to explain your background and your expertise ideally with interesting cases.

But don’t overdo it! This is where many presenters get it wrong. Because if you keep talking about what you know (to build the needed authority), you will be failing on the second box to be ticked off: credibility.

To build credibility, you basically have to do the opposite of what you did to first built authority: you tell the audience what you don’t know – or more correctly: you tell them specifically in which areas you don’t have any particular background, don’t have any expertise and you cannot provide any interesting cases. These areas must obviously not be the core of your presentation, but they could be slightly related and thus enhancing your authority in your area of expertise = your presentation topic.

The key to convincing any audience is to establish the right combination of authority and credibility.

We are the sports practice of global advisory firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe. We provide strategy and communication advice for sport clients around the world. For more information: www.bcw-sport.com