Wednesday, 6 July 2011

It'll Be Alright on the Night

Listen to any seminar on presenting and they'll all ram home the importance of rehearsal. They're clearly correct, and so we all devote several hours to getting every gesture, every pause prezactly right.

Don't we?

Oh, OK, I'll agree that there are just a few people who never seem to have the time to do more than run through the slides half an hour before.  Good job you and I aren't among 'em, eh?

So this morning's post is for that vanishingly small minority who wing it every time.

Bullet point screens often give me trouble.  Sorry, I mean I know someone who often has trouble with bullet screens. It's that moment when you can't remember whether there are any more points to reveal on this screen.  It looks about full, so you do a big wrap-up, ready for your next topic. Then you click the mouse and another bullet point sneaks in, leaving you mumbling "Oh yeah, and that as well."

The alternative's no better. You convince yourself there's another bullet point to come and click the mouse. The screen clears and your next big topic pops up. "Ah," you stammer, "I didn't mean to go onto this yet, let me just go back for a moment to the last screen." 

So slick; so polished; so don't.

This person I know- the one who doesn't rehearse properly - gets round this problem by making a small, barely noticeable marker appear after his last bullet point.  It'll be a tiny change to the screen that the audience is very unlikely to spot, but that tells him the screen will change next time he clicks the mouse.

We build markers like this into our Configurative presentations, and it's easy to add them to your own PowerPoint; just add a small block or other shape after the last bullet point on each slide.  In fact you can even set this as part of your template by building it into your master slide.  Daniel's just recording a video to show you how.

Fortunately I never need it because, just like you, I rehearse my presentations to perfection.

And that ranks alongside "There's a cheque in the post", "Of course I love you" and... the other one, among the greatest lies of all time.

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