When you use projected visuals as a persuasive backdrop to your communication, they become much more than "visual aids" tacked on to your spoken words. They can summarize your point, frame your ideas, and influence mood and emotion.
- Black out the screen. This is probably the simplest and most powerful technique – to simply hit the "B" key and turn the screen to black. The image-filled screen creates such a powerful presence, that its sudden absence focuses attention intently on you. Use this when you want to emphasize the most important points in your storyboard. In the Beyond Bullet Points method, you would black out the screen during each of the storyboard frames that correspond with the 5-minute column in the story template.
- Write on the screen using a Tablet PC. I’m not someone who gets excited about new gadgets, but I’ve had the IBM ThinkPad X41 for a few months now, and it’s become a powerful new addition to my toolkit to help me engage my own audiences. Whenever I begin a workshop, I show this slide (Download humanize.ppt) that features a PowerPoint box. When I present it, I ask the audience, "When I say the word PowerPoint, what words come to your mind?" As I call on audience members for their responses, I repeat what they said, and then write their response directly on the screen with the stylus that comes with the Tablet PC. This makes a powerful statement that this is going to be engaging, I am going to listen to you, and we are going to create this experience together.
- Use hand-sketched graphics. Especially these days when the graphical trend is toward 3-D, gradients and hyper-stylized backgrounds, adding hand-sketched graphics is an effective way to make your presentation style more human and down-to-earth. If you have a Tablet PC then you can sketch your graphics directly on the PowerPoint slide with a stylus; otherwise you can sketch on paper then scan the images and add them to the slides. If you’re more of a scribbler than a sketcher, ask one of your colleagues to lend their sketching talents to your slides.
Try one of these techniques the next time you present, to break the media barriers and make sure you keep your presentations appropriately sociable.