How to Attract the Eyes in Your Multi-Media Presentation

Two Key Principles of Eye Movement

principles of eye movement for presentations

Let’s look at two important principles of presenting with a computer and screen.

Our Eyes are Attracted to Light
Perhaps you have noticed when walking or driving at night that your eyes flash to the source of the brightest light.

You can use this attraction to light principle in the development and delivery of your presentation. When presenting you should always stand in the brightest light so people focus on you. Have the lights slightly dimmer at the back of the room. Bright lights at the back or side of the room will continually distract them.

On a screen it is easier to read lighter coloured letters on a darker coloured background. Our eyes are naturally attracted to the lighter letters – just where we want them to focus. (But don't use white on black. It's eye catching but difficult to read.) 

In contrast black letters on a white background is punishing to our eyes Because it is a light-emitting source our eyes are naturally attracted to the light background. Meanwhile we are forcing our eyes to focus on the black letters. This creates an internal conflict, which tires and annoys. The other pain this type of slide inflicts is that the eyes spend most of the time looking at the bright white light – which tires first the eyes and secondly the person.

Our Eyes are Attracted to Motion
For our cave-dwelling ancestors this was probably an important survival trait because movement signified either food or danger.

When you are speaking don’t have things moving on the screen because people will watch the movement and ignore what you say. Our brain can generally do one thing well at a time – watch or listen. Watching seems to take precedence. When you want people to look at the screen, gesture towards the screen then stand still. To recapture their attention after they have been studying the screen – take a step, stop, and then speak. Your movement draws their attention back to you. This principle explains why we easily get distracted by the speaker fidgeting or pacing. 

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