When you’re giving a presentation, use emphasis to your advantage. There are lots of different ways you can use emphasis. You can be quiet. You can slow down. You can stop. You can use a blank screen. Anything that shakes up the normal flow of your presentation will get the audience’s attention and make them listen carefully to what you’re saying.
Imagine, for example, that you’re giving an important presentation to a bunch of facilities executives. You say, “We’ve taken the time to do a walk-through audit of all ten of your properties and what have we found?” You pause, then softly say, “We found that six of them don’t meet basic code.”
Now the minute you say that, people give you their full attention. It’s ironic that the more softly you speak, the more people listen. So, don’t be afraid of using different intonation, switching up your pace or volume, turning off the slides, etc. When you apply these techniques, it becomes a dramatic production and people really pay attention and remember what you said.
Using a pause is particularly effective in conveying that what you just said (or are about to say) is important. Believe me, people are used to stream of consciousness. If you stop talking, people will look up and say to themselves, “Uh oh, what happened? Did somebody just ask me a question and I didn't hear it?”
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