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The Power of Music in Presentation Delivery

September 4, 2014 / Blog presentation delivery, presentation insight, presentation tips, research

If your presentation delivery is feeling lackluster, there’s one solution you can try–listen to the 70’s rock anthem, ‘We Will Rock You’.


They say music is the universal language. It has such a transcendent quality that it’s hard to imagine life without it. Songs can leave an emotional impact on us. And there’s no rhyme or reason to it, either. Even with the absence of lyrics, tunes have the ability to make us feel a myriad of emotions: melancholy, nostalgia, happiness, and even the unwitting urge to dance.

Just imagine how a period drama would look without the swelling of violins in the background. There’s simply no denying the influence that music has on our mood and emotions.

Apparently, this influence can also decide the outcome of your presentation delivery. According to a recent study, there are certain types of music that can make us feel powerful and confident. Not only that, but these tunes can also shape how we think and behave.

The research, led by Dr. Dennis Hsu, found that “music can evoke a sense of power and produce power-related cognition and behavior“. So if you’re feeling wary about giving a presentation, science offers that the best solution may be a song.

Choosing your power song

Of course, not every song can leave you feeling like a presentation superhero. To feel pumped for your presentation delivery, you need to listen to a song with a heavy bass beat. In their research, Dr. Hsu and his team observed how respondents reacted to 3 “high-power” songs:

These songs all have a distinctive heavy bass line that makes listeners feel dominant and powerful. Apparently, when we hear components in music that “express a sense of power”, we are able to “mimic those feelings internally.” Further studies even found that heavy bass music leads to listeners feeling more determined to accomplish a task. Among these tasks is the presentation you’re about to deliver.

Queen’s lyrics certainly offer the push you need for a successful presentation delivery. We all want to deliver a presentation that “rocks” the audience off their seats. But without its repetitive and heavy beat, it probably won’t work as well. As the researchers put it, “powerful people are more likely to speak with a deep, bass voice, and a bass voice is often associated with higher perceived power.”

Shaking off your nerves

There are plenty of cures for presentation nerves. We’ve even discussed some of them in the past. Listening to a high-power rock anthem is another fun technique you can try. If after all the breathing exercises you still can’t calm down, why don’t you try to pump yourself up instead?

Blogger and Forbes contributor Nick Morgan suggests quick tips that might help your presentation delivery. Aside from listening to heavy bass music, it might also help if you try to get yourself excited. Your adrenaline is responsible for all the physical symptoms associated with nervousness, like breathlessness and sweaty palms. With some power music, you can turn your feelings of dread to feelings of anticipation and determination.

But even if you’re not feeling nervous, listening to high-power music can still do a lot for your presentation delivery. The more powerful you feel during a presentation, the better you can relay a thought-provoking and memorable message.



Hsu, Dennis Y., et. al. “The Music of Power Perceptual and Behavioral Consequences of Powerful Music.” Social Psychological & Personality Science, August 5, 2014. Accessed September 4, 2014.
Morgan, Nick. “Three Secrets To Delivering A Powerful Speech.” Forbes. September 2, 2014. Accessed September 4, 2014.


Featured Image: kris krüg via Flickr