PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

The presentation I gave last week using Prezi–the recently launched PowerPoint alternative–went well.  The business school students I was speaking to were intrigued with the non-slide-based visuals.

The one thing I dearly missed, however, was the ability to blank out the screen and speak without a visual.  You can do this with PowerPoint by tapping the “B” key on your laptop or by using a remote equipped to give the command.  If Prezi has such a capability I haven’t found it yet.

Turning off your slides occasionally refocuses the audience members on you alone.  It heightens the sense that you are talking directly to them.  Presentation is replaced by a greater feeling of conversation

I will blank out my slides to elaborate on a point, tell a story, answer a question, or facilitate a discussion.  When persuasion is the goal, this technique is particularly effective for creating a look-me-in-the-eye moment.

A blank screen also offers the opportunity to move in closer to the audience without worrying about blocking someone’s view of the screen or, heaven forbid, having a slide shining on you.  This move toward the audience creates a greater sense of connection and adds a dynamic quality to your speaking style.

Visuals play an important role in presentations, but at times a blank screen can do wonders.

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