Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Never introduce yourself to an audience when your title slide is showing. If you must have a title slide, let it show for a few seconds in silence, then turn off the PowerPoint to introduce yourself and your topic.

Here's an experiment I have carried out scores of workshops.

Take one: a trainee introduces him or herself with a title slide showing.
Take two: the trainee does exactly the same thing again (same tone and words), but with nothing on the screen.

The audience is then asked which way they prefer.

Of the hundreds faced with that choice in the last three years, only one person chose the first way.

Why that overwhelming reaction?

Because your audience wants to get to grips with who you are before they ingest info from your machine. Deny them that moment and you remove a big chunk of your personal credibility. You seem to be avoiding them. You're not 'fronting up to them'. You're not 'looking them in the eye'. The majority of presenters do exactly that to us all. Then most blunder right on with non-stop PowerPoint, getting their cues from the screen, and reading out, word-for-word, what we can read for ourselves.

It's part of a much bigger problem - world-wide audience-abuse by PowerPoint. The vast majority of presenters use the screen as a way of avoiding the spotlight, somehow forgetting that PowerPoint cannot persuade. People persuade. Don't get me wrong; electronic aids are useful for showing information, but only when they support you, not when they replace you.

Have the courage to make your presentations presenter-based. Have the courage to be seen. Have the courage to turn PowerPoint off between slides.

How? Look back at the previous PowerPoint tips in my blog - especially tip 3: use the 'B' button, and tip 8: make PowerPoint your servant, not your master.

Isn't it interesting that very few people know how to turn PowerPoint off? And yet it just takes one button.


About Michael Brown

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Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.

He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has special expertise in how to present emotionally-charged topics to challenging audiences. Michael has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.

Michael is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.

Speaking Easy: how to speak to your audiences with confidence and authority

Media Easy: how to handle the news media with confidence and authority

One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.

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