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When Should You Present? The Most (and Least) Persuasive Moments

Have you ever stood in front of a room and wondered if they’d rather be napping than listening to you?

Have you ever felt like you nailed a presentation, but for some reason your idea went nowhere?
Have you ever wondered why your team ghosts you when you attempt to schedule talks over lunch?

For the answers to these questions, look no further than the clock. Time, as they say, is on your side. But not if you misuse it.

It’s true. Time is a tool. Like all other environmental factors, it can be leveraged to your benefit if you put it to work for you in the right ways.


Next time you plan to move an audience toward your idea, take a spin through these factors:

Rise and Shine

Want greater receptivity and recall of the information you present? Hold your meeting between 9am and 11am. People’s memory and concentration tend to peak mid to late morning, so keeping your audience focused and engaged will be less of an issue at this time of day. If that’s the case and you end up losing your audience, it’s not them…it’s you.

These magical hours are also believed to be our happiest time of day, thanks to the high natural levels of dopamine production that occur during this time period. Since dopamine has been credited with determining what lingers in our memory, it’s the perfect time to share your ideas with a crowd.

Time for Action

That sweet spot after the lunch hours, when food turns to fuel, are when people will have the energy to act. An average adult reaches the day’s best physical coordination by 5pm, so schedule your meeting between 4pm and 6pm if you’re organizing any kind of group activity or service project.

Night Time is the Bright Time

Schedule a night meeting between 8 and 10pm because it’s one of the best times of the day for creative thinking and problem solving. When you’re tired (just like after a couple of happy hour cocktails), your mind opens up, limiting inhibitions and creating an atmosphere of free-flowing idea-sharing. The audience will be more apt to answer, “how might we…?” in more earnest and creative ways.

As a presenter, these hours are also an optimal time to tell your story to larger audiences. When people are tired, they produce more oxytocin, a chemical that is associated with feelings of empathy. So, when you speak at this time, you’ll have the advantage, biologically, in asking people to connect with your message.

Lunch? Let’s… Not.

Repeat. Do. Not. Do. Lunch. Lunch time and the few hours that follow are black holes for persuasions. You’re full. Your colleagues are full. It’s peak fatigue time. Everyone else would rather be napping, not listening to you. If this is the absolute ONLY time you can get the meeting together, keep the lights bright, use a few activities to get the blood flowing and keep the room cold. Audience members’ body temperatures will increase, and so will their ability to focus.

By using factors of time to our advantage, we can reach audiences when they’re the most receptive. So, if you want to see your persuasion succeed, give it the time of day.

For more presentation tips on the best times – and getting the most out of your total environment – please download our free eBook Designing the Persuasive Environment.




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