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December, 2019

Presentations – Seven Seconds or You’re History

Making a great opening has always been important but how important has been highlighted by research by Vanessa van Edwards and Brandon Vaughn in a well-structured experiment with Ted talks, writes PowerfulPoints CEO, Lee Featherby.

Their research found that people will make up their mind about you in the first 7 seconds and after that, it’s hard to change their first impression. Importantly in the research, they tested 2 groups…one saw only the first 7 seconds of a talk only, the other saw the entire Ted talk. The ratings from the groups were basically the same. In other words, whether people saw the entire presentation or not, their judgments were the same.

People will make up their mind about you in the first 7 seconds and after that, it’s hard to change their first impression.

Importantly, it didn’t matter whether the viewer could hear the speaker or not! In other words, this judgment was entirely out of non-verbal signals.

Insights from the research

  • Hand movements: good, positive ones will improve peoples perception of you as a speaker and generally rate you higher.
  • Smiling matters: people who smiled more were generally seen as more intelligent.
  • Scripts kill Charisma: No surprise here. Who can remember anything they heard someone say in a scripted speech.
  • Speakers with higher vocal variety were seen as more credible. In other words, don’t be a drone.
  • Charisma was a function of 1 & 4 above.
  • Business clothing, even business casual, rated better than just casually dressed speakers and preferably dark.

Be proactive for your next presentation

  • Start energetically.
  • Smile a lot and keep your energy up during your presentation. This will cause you to use your hands.
  • Use “light & shade” in your voice when you speak, and,
  • Dress professionally.

Want to learn more about crafting powerful presentations that make an impact?

Learn from the best in the business, Lee Featherby from PowerfulPoints, as he shares his secrets on mastering the craft of building powerful, professional presentations. Held face-to-face across Melbourne (12 March 2020), Sydney (5 March 2020) and Brisbane (26 March 2020), explore case studies of presentation best practice and discover PowerfulPoints’ very own framework to apply to your own presentations.

Places limited. Secure your spot.

Register now!

About the author

Lee Featherby, PowerfulPoints

Lee Featherby has been passionately committed to improving business communication since his first exposure to a 9 slide projector, trade presentation in his first marketing role at Cadbury Schweppes in the 80’s. Since then he has worked in senior roles in retail, fast food, FMCG and the automotive industry which has given him an amazing exposure to what makes businesses work. He founded PowerfulPoints in 2003, Australia’s first dedicated presentation design house and has pushed it’s visual communications skills into video and other emerging digital technologies ever since. Lee speaks and trains in how to build and deliver effective presentations throughout the world and is considered one of the industry’s leading thought leaders on the topic.