While there is a wealth of information on how to put together a good PowerPoint deck for your sales presentation — right down to the number of words and size of font on each slide, little attention is given on how a presenter can interact with those PPT slides in order to ensure his or her message resonates with the audience.
As technology has gotten more sophisticated, it’s critical that salespeople learn to use PPT and supporting technology to enhance their message and not become their message. The more bells and whistles and videos we start including, the more important it is to remember that at all times you are responsible for managing your audience’s attention.
Following are three of my favorite PPT presentation tips for making sure the focus of your audience is always where you want it to be, when you want it to be there:
1. Use the black out key:
Multi-tasking is a myth. People can really only pay attention to one thing at a time and you must decide what that one thing is. Too often I see presenters – even seasoned ones – talking about one topic while there is a photo or a bunch of text relating to something else on the screen. Your audience’s attention is split as they decide what to focus on: you or the screen.
Don’t take this chance. Use the blackout key on your wireless mouse or the “B” key on your keyboard when you’re in PowerPoint to go to black whenever you want your audience to focus on YOU and not on the screen.
This simple adjustment has a big impact on your audience’s attention and makes sure your key messages don’t get lost.
2. Mark your projector lines:
Have you ever seen someone give a presentation while half their slide is illuminated like a tattoo across their face? It’s distracting, right? No matter what critical point the presenter may be making, you’re focused on one thought: “Does he know he’s standing in the projector light?”
3. It’s a pointer…not a sparkler:
Not just a PowerPoint tip, but for any presentation or demonstration where you are using a screen, I highly recommend using a wireless mouse (or a phone if you want to be really cool.) It allows you to walk around freely and connect with your audience and not get trapped behind your laptop where you’re in danger of falling into dreaded “presenter mode.” However, when it comes to the pointer function, I’ve seen very few presenters use it for it’s intended purpose: to point.
Great article. Do you think using the black out button would be distracting to a large audience?
Good question Brett. I’ve seen it used on all sizes of audiences and think it is equally effective. It is certainly less distracting than having something on the screen that has nothing to do with what the speaker is talking about. Where you’re at risk of it getting distracting is if you do a lot of off and on with the projector.