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Four Questions You Must Answer to Convince An Audience

Four Questions You Must Answer to Convince An Audience

I spend a lot of time coaching speakers and especially business leaders who need to give convincing talks.

They are often speaking to groups comprising different types of people with a corresponding wide range of concerns.

Not surprisingly one of their most common questions is;
– “How can I pitch my presentation to appeal everyone in an audience?”

It’s a great question. How can it be possible to address all, or at least most of their concerns?

Wouldn’t it be helpful if you could predict in advance what most of their questions are likely to be about?

Well amazingly, with just a little thought in advance, you actually can!

This is because most of the burning questions that people have tend to revolve around one of four big questions.

Once you know what they are, then you can plan to address them.

Here they are:

  • Why?
  • What?
  • How?
  • What If?

Of course not everyone may be concerned about all four questions. However each person is likely to have one or more of these uppermost in their mind as they listen. Therefore if you cover all of them, you are very likely cover most of the big concerns in the room.

The idea is therefore to structure your talk or presentation to address each of these in turn.

This approach is based on ‘The 4Mat System’ developed by Bernice Mc Carthy.

NB Starting with the ‘Why’ is not just by chance. It is a good place to start because if people don’t have reasons to listen they are apt to switch off from the start.

Let’s look at each question in turn. You will notice that the ‘What If?’ question has two parts. Therefore you effectively have five questions to answer in order maximise your chances of convincing people.

I have listed some bullet points with ideas to cover each question. You may think of others as you think of the topic of your talk.


  • E.g. Make the audience care about your topic.
  • E.g. Give reasons why this topic is important now – the rationale or business case.
  • E.g. Say why you have chosen this aspect to talk about.


  • E.g. Explain your idea.
  • E.g. Outline the key message or concept.
  • E.g. Present the theory.


  • E.g. Give the evidence that supports your idea.
  • E.g. Explain how it works.
  • E.g. Give compelling examples.


It is best if you can put yourself into the minds of the audience and think in advance what they might ask. This will show that you have thought through potential problems.

  • E.g. Anticipate the audience’s objections or awkward questions – and answer them.
  • E.g. Talk about what could go wrong – and how you plan to deal with that or avoid it.
  • E.g. Highlight any potential counter-example to your idea – and deal with it positively.


  • E.g. What do you want the audience to do?
  • E.g. Who will benefit?
  • E.g. How will they benefit?
  • E.g. Describe the new reality.

If you use the above structure you will be able to be able to give a very thorough presentation that satisfies most of the questions that the audience are likely to think of. This will increase your chances of getting people on board and persuading them of the benefits of your ideas.

Find out now how Graham can help you or your team to present your ideas convincingly.

For details of in-house training and speaker coaching contact:graham@visionlearning.co.uk