Teachers periodically invite me into classes to give an introductory lesson on PowerPoint. Happily, I have been influenced by Presentation Zen, the leading blog on presentation techniques. The author repeatedly emphasizes principles of simplicity and clarity with, well, simplicity and clarity!
Last week, I tried something new during my presentation: the blank slide. During most presentations I have seen, some slide is always on display. Even when the speaker elaborates or digresses for several minutes, audience members are distracted by some visual element not necessarily related to the point at hand. During my presentation to the kids, I put up a completely black slide, and something remarkable happened. Every student in the room stopped looking at the screen and looked squarely at me.
It makes sense. Once the slide has served its purpose of providing visual support to an idea, it should go away. I will make liberal use of this technique at NECC in July.
Now, wasn’t that better than showing you my slides?