Timing is everything! When do you click to the next slide?

Do you find your slides OK but not getting your audience’s attention? It could be down to your timing because you probably click too fast. 

Clicking too quickly? Many speakers jump to their next slide even before they have announced it. The audience then immediately reads what’s on the slide instead of waiting for the explanation. Fortunately, it can be done differently. How? Waiting a little longer to click. You’ll be amazed by the results.

Why do we click too quickly?

We click too quickly because we use slides as cheat sheets.

Do you also go to the next slide to know what you must say? The problem is that the audience reads along when you read what’s on your slide. And then, when you start speaking, the audience already wants to go to the next slide.

How then? They need to listen first, then look.

Your slides should follow the rhythm of your explanation, not vice versa. That means you only show the slide when you talk about it. And not before.

Why? Because your slide does not serve as a mnemonic for you but to make it easier for your audience to follow your story.

So the right order is:

They listen to you first and then look at the slide.

Don’t look at the slide first because they are distracted and no longer listen.

But then, how do you know what to tell them?

To know what to say as a speaker, you can do the following things:

  1. Practice beforehand. To know when to go to your next slide, you need to know what is on your slides. Many speakers give the impression of going through their slides for the first time while standing in front of the audience.
  2. Do you still need a cheat sheet? You may, but don’t use your slides for that. Write keywords or the structure of your presentation on small sheets. You can then refer to them if you get lost. Only put on your slide what is useful for your audience.
  3. Use presenter view. This allows you to see what is on the next slide on your laptop screen. It’s very handy for peeking in from time to time. No idea where to find the presenter view in PowerPoint? Go to ‘Slide show’ and click ‘Presenter view’.

So now you know not to rush to your next slide.

But once you’re on that slide, you also need to ensure you don’t show everything immediately.

Show the content of your slide step by step, with animation!

What happens if you show all the info on the slide right away? Then, the audience reads everything immediately, even if you ask them not to. Why? Because it is a natural reflex. If there is a slide in front of us, we look at it.

So, you have to set the rhythm. Only when you start talking about an item may you show it.

That is why the animation function is very handy. With it, you make the text or images appear on the screen step by step.

Two important points to note:

  1. Choose subtle animation, such as ‘fading’. Spinning around, rolling up, or bouncing is really not necessary.
  2. Use a slide changer device so you can click subtly from a distance. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with your laptop.

And what if you have a click allergy?

You can also do it without slides. Then you don’t have to click at all. And everyone listens to you (at least if it’s engaging).

Or you do it with far fewer slides and alternate with a black slide. You use such a black slide when you want your audience’s full attention and when there is nothing to show on the screen.

So remember for your next presentation: it’s not the slides that set the rhythm, but the slides that should follow your rhythm.

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