If you use PowerPoint slides to accompany your presentation, you might like this powerful technique to distinguish your talk from the ocean of PowerPoint presentations. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create this slide.
This is such a simple technique that many presenters overlook it. That’s one reason you will stand out when you use it.
Use a blank (blacked-out) slide at critical moments.
Start your presentation with a blank screen
Set up your computer and projector before your presentation. Check your slides for size and focus on the screen then blank the screen.
You start your presentation standing in the middle of the stage talking to your audience. That is most powerful position and often that is dominated by the screen which forces the presenter off to the side in a less significant position.
With the screen blank there is no distracting slide stealing attention from your opening words.
This means that the first impression that people have of your presentation is you. This gives you the opportunity to connect directly with your audience. This first impression helps to establish rapport and trust. A title slide will never do that.
After your opening you move to the side and click for your first real slide.
Blank the screen during your presentation
During your presentation there will be points when you want to reconnect with your audience by removing the distraction of the slides. You simply blank the screen and move to center stage to talk with them. This will often feel like an intimate moment to your audience.
Do this when reinforcing an important point or answering questions. This technique allows the audience to focus on you and your words.
End with a blank screen
The close to your presentation is important because it’s the last thing they hear. It’s your opportunity to reinforce your key message. It’s your last chance to build on the human connection. The best way to do that is with you speaking to them from center stage while delivering your closing words.
Before you close tell the audience that you are wrapping up with your closing message. Blank the screen and move to center stage. Then deliver your close.
Here are three ways
Click the “B” key. This is a PowerPoint shortcut. It’s a toggle so you simply hit it again to display the slide.
Use the blackout button on the remote. Most remotes have this feature. Hit it again to display the slide.
Insert a black slide in your PowerPoint presentation so it becomes part of your slide sequence. If you provide copies of your slides to the audience you probably want to exclude this slide from those handouts.
The words that you deliver with the screen blank will tend to have more credibility because you will appear to be more intimate with your audience.
Presentation Tips on Twitter Presentation Skills Club on Facebook Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives