Delivering a Captivating Presentation

 In Blog

This world belongs to the enthusiastic. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The most important point in delivering a presentation is: speak from your heart with natural enthusiasm and your audience will remember you and gain from your messages.

RLC communication specialist David Page says that the basic tools for establishing a verbal bridge of communication are not oral at all. They are eye contact; a smile or pleasant demeanor; body language and silence.

Eye contact:

David says that when eye contact is established a path is mapped for the voice. First look at the people furthest away, then gradually look at the people closest to you, and then once again look at the people furthest away before speaking. The silence creates tension and anticipation. The audience will start paying more attention to someone who is not talking rather than to someone who plunges immediately into his or her discourse.

Look directly at someone for a short time when you’re making a point. Look at someone else on your next point.

Body language:

Maintain open and comfortable body language throughout your presentation. Avoid crossed arms, arms behind your back or in your pockets. Use your arms and hands in synchronization with what you’re saying. Keep your palms up most of the time.

The power of the pause:

No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause. – Mark Twain

Pauses allows your audience to consume what you just shared. Like white space on a slide, pausing makes your point stand out. President Obama and President Reagan are great examples of speakers using silence to give their messages impact.

Remove barriers:

If possible avoid standing behind a podium so you can be open and connect with the audience. If you’re using PowerPoint, invest in a basic inexpensive remote to change slides.

Repeat your core message after key points (e.g. The Power of Story.)

Death by PowerPoint?

We have all sat through mind-numbing PP presentations with slides filled with a page of text. But PowerPoint presentations can work when they’re done correctly.

How PowerPoint (and Keynote) can improve your presentation:

You are the presentation! Slides are tools to illustrate and support your message visually. The more you and the fewer slides the better.

Use images over text. Pictures connect and can trigger an emotional response. The old cliché is true…A picture is worth…well, you know the rest. Make your visuals active and avoid using them as decoration. Use lots of white space so the images and text stand out.

Text slides. My early presentations were loaded with one-sentence bullet points on every slide. I used them as notes to remember my points. Two negative things happened:

  • The audience’s attention was divided between reading all the text and listening to me.
  • I was losing the room, literally! People in the back were walking out.


  • More prep and rehearsal
  • Fewer slides and less text

A few headline grabbing text slides can work. Limit the number of words per slide to five or six. Examples: The Power of Story or The Secret behind 60 Minutes.

Be careful with numbers and statistics:

Always use them in comparison to other numbers. Rather than saying or showing 53%, say “more than half” because specific numbers are difficult to remember.

Delivering a captivating presentation comes down to three key points:

  1. Be your authentic self by speaking from your heart.
  2. Tell stories.
  3. Be playful and use humor appropriately.

Photo Credit:

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.