Silences too can help get a speech off to a rousing start. But make sure you got the timing right. Image Credit: Unsplash/Volodymyr Hryshchenko

As a communication coach and a presenter, I get to observe a lot of speakers at conferences, workshops, and in one-on-one coaching sessions. And here is an ugly truth – no audience enjoys boring presentations.

Yet, speakers and presenters often ignore what the audience wants, instead delivering what they want, in the way they want to say it. What they want to deliver does not always get the result they need. We’ve all seen it – a speaker losing engagement, as the audience starts looking at their phones or even chatting.

There are some simple ways to ensure the way you deliver your content has impact. I have two tools that you can use in any speech, presentation or talk – techniques that any speaker should consider using, no matter how seasoned they are.

The first tool, is good old silence. Applying a bit more silence to your presentations sounds simple, but it does not always feel easy.

To stand in front of a audience nd say nothing as you walk onto the stage, then stay silent for 10 or 15 seconds before you start your talk can feel strange – but it is so effective. It just requires some confidence and trust in the technique.

Making audiences attentive

It can be as dramatic as coming on stage to pumping music, or by enthusiastically greeting your audience. This technique increases the suspense of the audience and makes them eager to hear what you have to say.

If this silence is followed by an emotional opening story, a thought-provoking statement, or a mind-blowing fact, then you are really setting yourself up for success. That is just one way to use silence when giving a presentation – think about when you can incorporate a ‘dramatic pause’ or a moment to let an impactful statement sink in, or to regather a room.

Practice it as it may feel alien at first – five seconds can feel like five minutes when you are in the spotlight, but once you learn to trust yourself it will become easier.

Robin Williams, Steve Jobs and Barak Obama, are all champions in the effective use of pauses in their speeches. Watch them on YouTube for some inspiration.

My second go-to tool, is simply called, the WOW-factor, which can be incorporated both in your content and your delivery. It is a memorable moment that helps the audience to remember the content, the presentation, and the speaker themselves.

The numbers game

A speaker should always be memorable - not to polish his ego but to create opportunities and connections. In terms of content, consider this - when discussing work, I can talk about the 50 companies and 1,000-plus professionals that I trained last year, or I can talk about the combined value of their businesses which is more than $250 billion.

Now, the $250 billion sounds impactful, but what is even more memorable is adding a meaning to this figure – something that will resonate with your audience that relates to why they are there. Looking at your numbers from different angles is incredibly effective as you help the audience to understand the significance of your content.

Then when it comes to delivery, don’t be scared to push the predictable corporate boundaries a little, whether that be in your topics or even how you present yourself.

Personally, my philosophy is to wear something that no one else will wear, which stands out that is still appropriate to the occasion. I make a visual statement before I start my speech.

Stand out

Using expressive and surprising body language can also be used to create a memorable moment, as well as incorporating unique audience interactions, making use of light and sound, or even planting a flash mob in the audience. Powerful, surprising or emotional videos will also make your presentation unforgettable.

All you need to do is to think a little creatively, dare to be different and stand out, and stay passionate about adding value to the audience – this will ensure your presentation results in a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Silence and a WOW-factor moment will make your next presentation, speech, talk, or pitch even more effective, impressive, and memorable. With these tools, you can make a lasting impression.

Go ahead, take a chance and deliver a winning communication.