Should the audience see you or your slides? Imagine a typical presentation. The presenter stands in front of a large screen with their slides. They can walk around and speak to different parts of the audience, have different expressions, and make important gestures. You can’t fit all of that visual information on a laptop screen. Ideally you would always use two screens like Garr did, but that isn’t always possible. Most of the time you can show your audience you or your slides, not both.
The foundation of Nancy Duarte’s celebrated presentations is her belief that “every presentation is an emotional journey.” Decide what journey you want to take your audience on and it will help you decide if they need to see you, your slides, or both.
Showing Your Face
Nancy says, “If it’s a difficult conversation where you feel that the number one thing they need to feel from you is trust, it’s probably better that they have eye contact with you.” When your presentation is emotional then your audience needs to see you; show them your face. Get a good quality camera and get really close to it.
Show them your face, your head and your shoulders. Let them see your hands too. Look directly into the camera and make eye contact. Showing your face will help you build trust with your audience.
When you do show your face, switch between that and your slides. Don’t try to show yourself and your slides at the same time. There isn’t enough room.
Showing Your Slides
When you are presenting data then show your data. Make your slides fill the whole screen. Showing your face takes space away from your slides. Your audience needs to hear what you have to say; they don’t have to see you say it.
Think about your emotional connection with your audience. If they know you and not your argument then show them your data. If they don’t know you let them see you. When you are making a difficult argument convince them with your presence as well as your voice.
- Use fewer slides with more data
- Burst your content
- Encourage questions
- Let everyone go at their own pace
- Control your own slides