"Présence" is 93% of a successful presentation

in Corporate and Lobby

Switch blog 19082014
As mentioned previously, Albert Mehrabian did a lot of research into verbal and nonverbal communication. In a face-to-face situation, words only account for 7% of your credibility, 38% is your tone of voice and 55% is your body language. So, your credibility is for 93% determined by your voice and your body or your "présence". I have to use the French word as I couldn't come up with one word in English that has the same meaning. Présence is all about capturing the space you are in: physically, verbally, and mentally.

Tone of voice is often forgotten, as most people concentrate on the message and their physical appearance. If you want to win the remaining 38%, work on your tone of voice by playing the following four elements:


1. Power

Vary the power, or loudness of your voice. Speaking softly can add emphasis, and authority when used to give instructions. Suddenly switching to a louder voice for one or two words can grab people’s attention. Constant variation will be a distraction for everyone, so use changes in power sparingly – softly for instructions, and one or two louder words at the beginning of sentences to ensure you have everyone’s attention.

2. Pitch

Change the pitch, or tone of your voice for emphasis. Adding subtle variations to the pitch – such as raising the tone at the end of a sentence – helps you to indicate this is a question and that you are looking for an answer. If you lower the tone, then this adds a level of seriousness to your voice.

3. Pace

You can speed up or slow down to grab the attention of your audience! In general, the rule of thumb is that if you think you are speaking too slowly, you are speaking at the right pace!

4. Pause

Nothing gets peoples’ attention more than a break. If the audience is used to hearing you speak, a break will re-capture their attention and will enable you to add emphasis to what follows. Don’t, pause, after, every, word – this sounds scripted and false. Add a pause just before you want to ensure you have their attention, or just before you recap.


And what about the other 7%, you ask? At Barco, we believe that having the right technology is paramount to great and smooth presentations. Join our Collaboration webinar on 28 August, at 4 pm CET and get inspired!

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