It’s Thursday morning. You’re sitting in a meeting and trying to read from an overloaded PowerPoint and stay focused on the speaker. With every slide, it seems like more and more is packed onto the screen. Your eyes glaze over.
It’s happened again – PowerPoint abuse. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
PowerPoint can be a valuable tool when it’s used correctly. If there’s one strategy you try to make your PowerPoint more effective, use black slides.
Black slides have a black background and no master template. It is a. Black. Slide. A slide that is black. Plain black. That’s it. You put them between slides, as you transition from one topic to the next, or anywhere you want to draw the focus of your presentation back to you.
Black slides are a tool that will:
- Remove distraction. After you’ve showed a graph, picture, or chart, you want to get rid of distractions so you can clarify a point, tell a story, or provide additional context. Putting up a black slide gives you the opportunity to bring your message home.
- Make your message clearer. The fatal error of PowerPoint is using it to create your presentation. You should always figure out your key points first and then decide how you might use PowerPoint to accent. When you use black slides, it’s nearly impossible to make your PowerPoint before you figure out your message. Using black slides changes your mindset.
- Refocus all eyes on you. The most effective speakers connect with their audience. It’s hard to connect when all eyes are glued to a screen. When you put up a black slide, eyes will quickly move from the screen to you.
Don’t let PowerPoint take over your presentation; instead, use black slides to keep your message clear and keep the focus on you.
- Do not use black slides on webinars. It’ll make your viewers think their webinar programs are on the blink.
- Do not email around your deck with black slides in it. If you need to send something out, first create your deck and save that version for emailing.
The Three Musketeers. Sex, drugs and rock n roll. The Star Wars trilogy. Ever notice that throughout literature, pop culture and film, three is a magic number? Beyoncé and her R&B group Destiny’s Child know this well. They started as a quartet but only hit it big as a trio. … Continue reading
Ever get into the rut of doing what you’ve always done because it’s comfortable – or because it’s the way it’s always been done? I’m talking about presentations – specifically the ones where you use PowerPoint. We were reminded of this when a client recently shared that he led a … Continue reading
Last week I was working with an executive, and he got flustered. “I can’t think of a story,” he said. I told him, “Just think about it – the stories will come to you.” And sure enough, they did. Why were we looking for stories? Not just because it’s trendy … Continue reading
Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it the same person your boss, your family, your audience and everyone else sees? All of us, men and women, alike, can be our own harshest critics. That’s why Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign immediately went viral (as did … Continue reading
You’ve heard us say it before, and we’ll say it again: People buy on emotion and justify with fact. There’s no better place to watch emotions unfold than on the Super Bowl, and it’s no surprise to us that the commercials that stood out were the ones that got us … Continue reading
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Michael Altshuler It’s your turn to present, but long-winded coworker Jeff ate half of your time slot. Your 30 minutes has now been chopped to 15. What do you do (other than eat half of Jeff’s “reserved” … Continue reading
After writing about Compartmentalized Communicating, I’ve been thinking about how significant storytelling is to the successful communications experience. Nothing makes that human, emotional connection better than authentic, compelling storytelling. It was Hans Rosling‘s brilliant presentation of statistics at TED India that has kept this topic on my mind. As Hans … Continue reading
“I’m good at sharing facts. I don’t have to use emotion very often, but when I do, I need to speak at the emotion more.” This came from a client in a recent Platinum Session, referring to the commonly-held belief that engaging emotions is an effort we make only for … Continue reading