The Eyes Have It!

“The Eyes Have It” How much of your presentation will the audience retain?

You have put a great deal of effort into your presentation. But how much of your presentation will your audience remember? Some studies have shown people will retain just 10% of a presentation after a week. Other studies show it could be as little as 3%. Those are discouraging numbers, especially if you have a lot riding on the success of the presentation.

One way to boost retention is to watch the eyes of the audience.

I have done hundreds of presentations. They were mostly sales or information about hi-tech products and services in Business to Business. I do not remember who or where I learned to watch the “eyes”. How to interpret what people are doing and thinking by watching their eyes during a presentation. This especially applies to one-on-one or small group meetings.

You have just presented a segment of information. What should you do next before you proceed to the next segment? See what the audience is doing. Some of this is obvious, but you must look to see it.

  • Someone with their head down with their eyes on their notes. They are summarizing what you have presented and may need a bit more time before you proceed. If you proceed, you break their thought process, and some of the information may be lost.
  • Someone is looking up, probably with their eyes looking to the side, left or right. They are in the moment of summarizing your content. They need a bit more time. Again, if you proceed you break their thought process and information could be lost.
  • Are most of the audience looking at you now? They are ready for more information.

Another suggestion: Many presenters find it difficult or awkward to pause, to give people a chance to absorb the information. I learned to always have a cup of coffee or water handy (generally coffee!). I will pause and take a sip. It looks natural to the audience and creates a break.

You are thinking at this point presentations have gone to online video meetings. Yes, so many presentations are now online, but the above still applies. People are still doing the same things with their eyes. While it may be hard to see, be aware of what is happening. Be sure to put in those breaks for a sip of water to your give your audience time to absorb the information.

If you have any questions, drop me a note.

John Deck

Jason Froehlich has written a great book on “The Profitable Pitch”. You can find it on Amazon or can get a special offer for the book at

Here is another solution, “The Eyes Have It” a Daffy Duck cartoon by Disney

Posted in Client Generation.