Power Presentations Tip 46: Open and Close with Silence

Open and Close with Silence

Your presentation starts before you open your mouth. The audience is judging you and hence your message before you start speaking. To strengthen your message keep your mouth shut a little longer.

Too many speakers start their delivery too early. As soon as they reach the front of the room they start talking. Even worse, some start talking while they are walking up to the front of the room or while they are still getting up from their seat.

Speaking too soon diminishes your opening presence and power. Your first words might not be heard by your audience because they aren't listening yet. Speaking too soon can make you appear nervous or in a hurry.


Instead start your presentation with eight seconds of silence. When it's your turn to speak, walk confidently and purposefully to the front of the room. Take the position where you will start, stand tall and pause for eight seconds. During the pause look at an individual for a second or two, then move your gaze to another and again.

Do this for eight seconds and the audience will stop their fidgeting and be totally focused on you and anticipating your opening words.You will need to fight the urge to speak. Start with a three second pause then increase it to five seconds. Then when you are ready boost it to eight seconds.

Close your presentation with a pause.

This is easier to do if you receive applause for your presentation. Stand still, look at the audience and graciously receive their applause.

What if there is no applause at the end of your presentation? This is the norm for a business or sales presentation. Conclude your presentation and then stand strong and pause for three to eight seconds while you look confidently at individuals in your audience. The secret is to connect silently with an individual, then another and another.

By concluding this way you will look confident, hence your message will appear stronger. Compare that to the speakers who seem to run off the stage once they have finished speaking.

To deliver a stronger presentation, open and close with silence.

George Torok

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