High speed or slow motion – which speed is optimal for a presentation?

A successful presentation stands and falls with the performance of the speaker. No matter how powerful the PowerPoint slides, if the speaker can’t captivate the audience with a compelling presentation, the entire effect quickly fizzles out. An important aspect of this is also the speed of speech, which I would like to discuss in more detail in the following blog post.

The right tone

It’s not so easy to strike the right tone in a presentation. What is the best way to address the audience? Of course, this depends on the composition of the audience and the topic of the presentation. If, for example, the topic is a scientific subject and the audience is made up of experts, you will certainly try to appear as serious and objective as possible. If the goal is to market an exclusive club resort as a cool vacation destination to a younger crowd, you’ll probably want to aim for a casual tone and a good vibe with your audience. The form of your presentation must fit the presentation content and the audience.

The right speed

A particularly important aspect of engaging the right audience is the right speed at which you deliver your presentation. If you just rattle off your presentation quickly, there’s a risk that the audience won’t be able to follow and will tune out. If you talk too slowly, the audience can quickly become bored and also stop paying attention to you. In both cases, you lose contact with your target group and can no longer successfully convey your messages.

But how do you find the right tempo? Here, everyone must gain their own practical experience. You may have already received feedback from colleagues that you should talk a little slower or faster, louder or clearer. If you haven’t had a chance to gain experience, consider whether there are trusted people in your circle of friends or colleagues to whom you can give your presentation. It is important to learn how you come across as a speaker.

Gain practical experience beforehand!

Stage fright usually causes the presenter to speak too quickly during the first few presentations. That’s why it’s so important to get hands-on experience before moving onto bigger stages. Before really important presentations, for example, if you are to give the company presentation to an important client, it is advisable to train with a professional in advance. Good presentation agencies offer individual lessons or seminars in smaller groups, where rhetoric, dramaturgy and pronunciation are trained.

In addition, you can tell if you need to vary the tempo by the reactions of your audience. If the audience starts looking at their watches or whispering to their neighbor, pick up the pace a bit. If, on the other hand, you recognize that your audience is squinting their eyes, staring uncomprehendingly at the slides, or perhaps even shaking their heads uncomprehendingly, then you should slow down the pace. If the content is rather complicated, the speed should be rather slower.

Use the effect of pauses in speech!

Remember to take breaks from talking, too! Whether you talk fast or slow, be sure to pause when you speak. The effect of a pause in speech is of great importance. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Pauses are important to be able to store information. The speaker uses pauses not only to catch his breath, but uses them dramaturgically to create tension and attention. For example, if you ask the rhetorical question “Do you know what this information means to you?” and then include a short pause, you will have your audience’s undivided attention for your next sentence.


These things should really be practiced so that they can have their effect properly. With a little experience, you’ll develop a feel for the right pace.

Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten as the expert for multimedia presentations and professional PowerPoint presentations knows about the art of professional slide design. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, Presentation Bootcamp and Presentation Rocket Day. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 15,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.