September 1, 2009

Put yourself center stage

One of the problems with PowerPoint presentations is the belief that the PowerPoint IS the presentation, that the slides are more important than the speaker.

Here's another contributor to the problem: The placement of the screen.

In rooms where there's a fixed or permanent screen, it's almost always in the center of the front wall. This means that the speaker has to stand off to the side or, in small rooms, in the corner (I've spoken from the corner of the room many times!). Sometimes the speaker stands in front of the screen and slides play across his forehead...

This, of course, puts the slide show center stage and the speaker in a secondary position of importance.

If you are speaking in a venue where the screen is not fixed, ask for it to be placed in the corner or to the left of the speaker (who will take center stage) at an angle to the audience. When the screen is to the left of the speaker, it is then to the right of the audience, which makes it easier to flow visually from speaker to slides and back again.

If you must speak from the corner, try to seat the audience so that they are facing you, with the screen to their right. Just because the room is square or rectangular, there's no reason the audience has to sit square to the front wall.

Visit your venue in advance and clarify with the organizer where you will stand and the screen will be placed.

Don't give up your power to PowerPoint. Be the center of attention!

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Business Communications Training said...

So true. Also thinking of your "magnetic effect" on your audience. If you are closer, your audience is more inclined to pay attention to you instead of the blackberry or the clock. Usually, the front row gets all the energy and they are the ones who most likely want it. Its the part of the audience that wants distance that you want to connect and persuade. Move to the other areas of the room, between the aisles and teach from different corners.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Yes, thanks for sharing! We have to reach the whole audience, not just the ones who put themselves in front. I love the "magnetic" concept.

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