Time for a Change?

Regular readers know how much I love ranting about not letting the ‘Tech Tail’ wag the ‘Presenter Dog’, so here’s another example. How do you change those wonderful audience-centric speaker support slides you’ve created when you don’t have a remote available?

Answer – you or someone has to manually change them, but avoid those annoying or clumsy habits that can really reduce the positive impression you project on your audience or the impact of your message. Consider these lessons learned from some of the Varsity Presenters I’ve had the pleasure of coaching:

1.  Have someone else change your slides

Best case scenario by far – enlist the help of a colleague or staffer to change your slides. Obviously, this requires a well-planned presentation, detailed outline and you investing time to rehearse with that person. If it looks like you’re faking it, what does that tell your audience about your credibility and competence?

If you can’t rehearse thoroughly, at least come up with less annoying change cues than ‘Next slide, please’, which can get annoying very quickly. Consider more subtle cues like, ‘As this next slide indicates … ‘ or ‘ Let’s move on the next topic – Cost … ‘ or ‘What does the research indicate?’ These alternatives should be clear enough for your ‘changer’ and can act as verbal internal transitions for your audience as well.

2.  Change them yourself

If you do have to change your own slides from your laptop or podium keyboard, just do it in silence … but don’t stand behind the podium. Ever. This 3.0 second motivated movement looks natural and logical. It also gives you a chance to think of your next few words or glance at your notes. And don’t add to your Presentation Anxiety by stressing over hitting the wrong key or messing up the mouse. Simply put a piece of masking tape over the advance key so you can find it in a hurry.

There you go … when it’s time for a change, make it easy on you and your audience. And keep that technology tail from getting in your way.

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