When I first joined toastmasters I thought digital presentations were all about the content.
I followed the usual tips
- Write the speech first and only then create the slides
- Keep the slides simple and concise (less is more)
- Use colour appropriately
- Don’t over use animations and transitions
- Ensure all text, images and charts are readable by the user
- Practice with all the equipment before presenting
Through delivering my own digital presentation and observing other digital presentations, I realised that content was important but that delivery was just as important.
The Key Mistake with Digital Presentations
Eye contact with your audience is critical to making a successful presentation, it creates a bond with the audience and makes you appear sincere.
I found that I was making the key mistake that all speakers tend to make.
When we deliver a digital presentation we find ourselves reading from the screen and are turned away from the audience.
Thus we break eye contact with the audience.
How do we break this habit?
A Suggested Approach To Delivering Digital Presentations
During one of my evaluations at a toastmasters meeting, I received a wonderful piece of advice.
Align your view of the laptop screen with audience. Then if you do need to refer to the content of the slides, simply bring your gaze to the laptop screen and at the same time you make eye contact with a member of the audience.
You will need to train yourself to not look back to the screen but instead to always bring your gaze to the laptop screen.
If you practice this in advance of your presentation you will find that you will quickly break the old habit.
This suggestion typically mean taking up a position to the left or the right of your screen. This means that you will present the majority of your presentation from this position.
Although this approach should not completely limit your movement, for example, you could present your opening and/or conclusion in a different position and then revert to the left/right position for the main body of your presentation.
Eye contact with your audience is critical for all presentations. To avoid the habit of turning your head away from the audience while delivering digital presentations, align your view of the laptop screen with audience.
Another Digital Presentation Tip – Presentation Remote Control
Based on my experience with Digital Presentations I would recommend the use of a Presentation Remote Control.
Without the use of a remote control you are limited to being within a short distance of your laptop.
The remote controls typically provide a pointer laser and allow you to move forward and back through your slides.
Most remote controls provide the ability to to make the screen go black, which is really useful when you want to speak without the distraction of the digital presentation.
In the last number of years there has been apps released which allow you to control your laptop from your phone rather than using a dedicated Presentation Remote Control.
If you enjoyed this blog, perhaps you would like PowerPoint vs Prezi, Which is better?
This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my current employer.