If you’re looking for a way to keep your viewpoint fresh, look no further than the Red-Eyed Tree Frog. That’s what I did yesterday when I noticed the picture of a tree frog on the video screen on an airline flight. The picture was part of a trivia question, which asked what special technique the frog employs to startle its predators.
So I Googled the frog, and learned that it keeps its eyes closed much of the time, much like audiences during boring PowerPoint presentations. When it wakes up, it opens up its bright red eyes, which scares away its enemies — a phenomenon called “startle coloration”. You might think this would be a handy technique to scare away the next bad PowerPoint presenter you see, but it’s actually something you can try yourself with PowerPoint, to startle away boredom and make your bright ideas stand out. How?
Tip: Try this out: Insert a new slide, choose Format –> Background, then Fill it with the color red. Insert a Text Box, and write the phrase “This is Important”, or “Big Idea Here”, or something to that effect. Now, insert that slide at the point where you present the single most important idea out of your entire presentation — the one thing you want people to remember above everything else. Show this slide, and pause for a moment to allow the startle coloration effect to work. Then hit the “B” key to black out your screen, and explain your idea. Then continue with the rest of your presentation. This is an exotic technique to be sure, but it may be one that just may startle your audience into remembering your idea for a long time to come.
Red-eyed tree frogs, or at least stimulating ideas, are teeming around us, if we have the eyes to see them. Startling insights can come from anywhere – from nature, and even pictures of nature, on an airplane flying over Florida.
Don’t be startled if they start inspiring you to create a much more colorful presentation experience.