don’t look back

don't look backDon’t look back at your slides on the screen behind you, everyone else will. Face the audience for as much time as possible. Depending on the setup there may be a “comfort monitor” in front of the stage morroring the projected slides behind (above/beside) the speaker. Don’t look back at the projector screen as the audience will follow this visual clue. Constant cheching and re-checking is distracting from the message and its delivery. It will also affect pick up from fixed microphones. Don’t look back, look forward.

Text on slides will force a speaker, and their audience, to look at the slide. Use of this as a script or aide memoire will cause the speaker to constantly scan the screen. To do so will involve turning away from the audience, sometimes even craning one’s body into strange contortions if the screen is very high above the presenter. The best presenters never look at the main screen, they may not even appear to look at the comfort monitor. They maintain eye contact as much as possible with the audience.

Body language cues of a presenter looking at the projector screen will signal to the audience that they should also look at the screen. This may be important at certain times but if this becomes continuous the situation will arise, as often seen, of the presnter taking a side position at the front of the room, facing the screen, to allow the audience full view as though the presenter is of lesser value than the slides. This is incorrect, the presenter is the most important part of a presentation.

The Good Presenter has checked their slide deck before delivery and this should provide all the information required to confirm that each slide will be delivered as required, don’t look back to check; use the comfort monitor. If this is not available try not to be so obvious in this manoeuvre. Taking a position at one side, oblique to the audience and then moving as the slide changes allows a quick confirmatory glance as both the physical movement of the presenter and change of image happen together. Don’t look back.

The slide deck is supportive media (p2) The presentation is not based upon this but added to by it. The Good Presenter should speak to the audience and not to the screen. Don’t look back, the audience are listening to you.

1 Comment

  1. Neil

    This is so true. My mentor had once told me this and that has worked a LOT for me!


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