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How to command attention and deliver a winning presentation

How to command attention and deliver a winning presentation

How to produce and deliver a winning presentation Part 2: Command Attention
Firstly, thank you for all your comments on Part 1: Prepared Goals.
It is a great honour to read your inputs and thoughts, please keep them coming.
So, here we go with Part 2 (of 4): Command Attention.


What does Command Attention mean in the context of producing and delivering a winning presentation? Well, being Prepared and knowing your Goals, as covered in Part 1, clearly have a vital and significant role in your ability to capture the attention of your audience. Ensuring that your presentation has been tailor made and fine tuned for the people in front of you is one of the greatest keys to enable you to Command Attention. There is no such thing as information only. You need to persuade your audience and your stakeholders that your information is worth listening to, that it’s accurate and that it matters to them. This requires the winning combination of the right content and the right delivery; in essence, the message and the messenger.

Command Attention covers both the message and the messenger.

Here in Part 2 we are going to be taking a detailed look at the messenger…

What does it take to be able to deliver with confidence, style and passion?

Here is your checklist to enable you to Command Attention.

I urge you to always rehearse a presentation with a listener or a group of listeners. Give them this checklist and ask them to give you feedback against each aspect. Ask them to give you points out of 5 for each aspect. Ask them for verbal feedback. If they didn’t shower you with 5s, what it would take for them to give you a 5 out of 5 for each part.

Here’s an interesting one for you… many of the qualities on the checklist below are not just for when you are presenting, they are for every conversation that you have, formal or informal, in business, in your social life and even in your family life. I would invite you and encourage you to strive to achieve these qualities each and every day in all aspects of your communications. They should not be qualities you switch on and switch off. They should become your normal, your modus operandi. In order to achieve this you need to become mindful and consciously aware of your presence all the time.


Diaphragmatic Breathing – relaxed and in control, not audibly nervous, shaky

Voice projection/volume – audible, engaging, gravitas behind it

Pronunciation and articulation – clear and intelligible, deliver your words with love, don’t throw them away

Not melding words together – every word is sacred

Speed of delivery – not too fast, not too slow, aim for between 120 and 150 words per minute

Not hesitant – fluid, conversational

Planting points – pausing between points, there is power and control in the silence

No fillers or superfluous words – err, erm, you know, like

No vague words – sort of, kind of

Intonation – varied, enthusiastic, passionate, storytelling

Voice Visualisation – convey the meaning behind your words



Not talking before getting in to position

Not standing too far back from your audience

Not resting or leaning on a desk or chair

Body facing forward

Standing straight – be conscious of your posture and stature, not letting hips drop

Feet – shoulder width apart

  • both facing forward
  • both firmly on the ground, no lifting up of toes/ball of feet, heel

Hands/arms – resting position for launch and a position to come back to: this is two hands resting one on top of the other around the core of your body, just above the waistline, just like the presenter in the photo directly above

  • uses both hands/arms to gesticulate
  • not putting hands in pockets
  • no distracting mannerisms such as “washing” hands, fiddling with rings, etc

Movement – no dancing around, no repetitive shifting your weight from foot to foot

Walking – if you are on stage stay planted for several points and if you want to walk take the steps as you launch into a new point or a new section of your presentation. Take four or five deliberate steps as you talk and once you stop make sure you stop and hold your ground. Stay in that position until you are ready to launch your next point or next section. Make your walk natural…the beat of your walk should match the beat of your talk.

Facial expression – appropriate for subject, convey the meaning appropriately

Eye contact to all – aim for 5 to 8 words per person in order to make the emotional connection (in a big audience, pick a person within a section of the audience and engage/connect with them. Due to the distance between you and your audience, other people around the person you have chosen will feel that you are talking to them. After 5 to 8 words, move to another face in another section.

Cue cards, if used – Keep it professional, use A5 size card with your company or project logo printed on the front of each card, no scraps of paper, no rolled up pieces of A4

  • pausing to take your points from the card/s before looking up to deliver
  • not holding cards in both hands, still use your hands to gesticulate
  • not holding cards too high or too low
  • still using the resting position around the waistline

Laptop monitor or comfort monitor if used – position the screen in front of you so you can use your presentation slides as your prompt. This helps you to stop keep looking behind you to take your points from the main projector screen. To keep looking back or turning your back on your audience makes you look unsure of your material and also breaks the eye contact and connection with your audience. As with cue cards, pause to take your next point from the screen in front of you and then look up to your audience to deliver your point. Don’t talk to the screen.

At the end of your presentation don’t walk off until you’ve finished speaking, give a clear thank you, hold your ground to take your applause and then exit stage.

As I post more Influencer articles I will gladly share the finer details of many of the aspects of the above with you.

My next article (Part 3 of 4) in this series will be centred on Passion.

How to maximise your impact through authentic and genuine leadership passion

Photo 1: Shutterstock, Picsfive

Photo 2: Shutterstock, Wallenrock

Photo 3: Shutterstock, Andresr

>> This article is part of the LinkedIn Influencers series; I welcome your questions, thoughts, observations, and experiences there:

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