Take it from me, as a presenter, if you don’t sync, you do not exist. Have you ever wondered why the audience does not pay attention to you, but only has eyes for the beloved PowerPoint slide? Feel like a jealous lover? It’s apple of the eye for PowerPoint and tin ear for you!
When that happens, it is simply because you are not keeping what the audience sees in sync with your speech, in other words, the audience is suffering from a chronic case of divided attention. We, human folks, are not very good at doing two things at once when our senses are pulling us in different directions.
The cure to the presentation problem is actually straightforward – and it’s not “Present now and drink later to drown your sorrow!”
1) Guide the eyes to what you describe.
Discourage forward reading and re-reading.
Point, circle, color what you describe, remove highlights after description.
Move the pointing object, or ask the audience to track an object moving through the static slide .
2) Take the attention away from the screen when the screen does not support your talk.
Blank the screen (B-Key or black slide).
And finally, move away from your position, change your intonation, stop talking.
Our brain is actively engaged in determining what changes from one moment to another. It pays attention to what changes. Motion of the presenter is perceived at the same level as any change on the screen. Therefore, move from your base position, use gestures. A new voice pitch or added intonation is also perceived as change by the ear. Silence is perceived as change just as effectively.
By Jean-luc Lebrun
Image source: Flickr,Author photo 1: “pedestrian photography”; photo 2: “Colin Purrington”