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Presentation tip: Disappearing slides

February 19, 2011

You might know this little trick for PowerPoint, but I’m always surprised how many don’t, so I’ll post it here in case you missed it.

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Photo of a computer keyboard with the B key in close up.

Whenever PowerPoint is running in full screen, slide show mode:

Hit the B key on the keyboard.
That makes the screen black.

or

Hit the W key on the keyboard.
That makes the screen white.

Either way, the next keypress brings the screen right back where it was.

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That little trick is a lot more useful than you might think.

In an earlier post here I recounted research from Brain Rules (Medina) showing that human brains (presumably that includes most of your audience) can’t read text on the screen and listen to you at the same time. But if there’s text on the screen lots of people feel compelled to read it, so they’re not listening to you.

This little trick is the ‘how’ for getting that text out of sight,

blank the screen at any point where you need the audience’s attention fully on you.

Remember that you are the presentation. The visuals are there to help you and when they’re not helping, get them off the screen so they can’t be a distraction.

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