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3 Professional Ways to Create Suspense When Presenting


Lots of presentations are boring (especially corporate ones). If you want to stand out from your peers and have the audience anticipate what you will say next, then you have to add some suspense elements to your presentations.

Here are 3 practical ways you can apply today.

1 – Express the benefit for each point on the agenda

Instead of just saying “today we will cover background, proposal, going forward.”

Say something like this: “Today we will cover the background so that we get everyone on the same page, then we will discuss the proposal to reduces our operational expenses by 5%, and if we are all on board we will talk about the path forward so that we can achieve even more efficiencies in the future.”

Expressing the benefits of the agenda will give people a reason to listen and anticipate what you will say later in the presentation.

2 – Use stem sentences on your slides and then complete them verbally

How you animate your slides will make a big difference with anticipation. You want to use the slides to keep the audience guessing all the way through.

For example:

Instead of having a whole sentence appear on your slide like this:

“Operating cost is $2,000,000”

Do it this way:

On the fist click have this stem sentence come up:

“Operating cost is ___________”

Then say the sentence out loud and fill in the blank with the number verbally first and then click to fill it on the slide.

“Operating cost is 2,000,000”

This way you give the audience a chance to guess what the number is and thus build anticipation for the answer.

3- Tease them with a promise

One of the easiest ways to keep your audience glued to their seats is to promise sharing something important with them. A good place for this is in the agenda section of the presentation.

Once you get to the agenda slide, say “Today I will go over three things (number is up to you), first we are going to go over x, then y, and finally the most important part z. (x, y, z are your agenda items).”


“Today I will go over three things. First, updates on our projects so far, second, our budgets for the year, and finally, the most important part of our meeting today, is the strategic plan for next year, so that you know where we are heading as a company.”

This technique will have the audience sit and listen till the end because they want to get to the “most important part.”

If you want to become a great communicator you have to start adding drama and suspense to your presentations. There are many ways to do that, In this Tip-Tuesday Blog, I shared with you three of them. Start with these three and build up your toolbox as you go.

Peter Khoury

Peter Khoury: Founder @ MagneticSpeaking X-Pharmaceutical Engineer, turned author, national speaker and executive presentation coach.

In addition to Public Speaking training, Peter is a regular speaker on the topics of Negotiations, Conflict Management and Leadership. He is the author of the book “Self-Leadership Guide.