what not to do

What NOT to do! Don’t drive your audience crazy when you use a remote to change your slides!

Most corporate presenters use a remote to change the slides. Used well, it’s a clever little tool that makes the whole event seamless.  Unfortunately we’ve all also seen the presenter who accidentally advances their slides, or clicks the slides out of slide view and into edit view, then they cringe and have to fuss around fixing the view of the slide while the audience looks on feeling sorry for them. Oh dear – terrible!

What should you do instead?

How do you use a remote properly?

Here are a few tips for you:

1.     The first tip for using a remote is to know how to use it properly – become acquainted with the buttons and what they do. It’s not good enough to turn up on the day and hope for the best – you are asking for trouble and will probably embarrass yourself. Get there early and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse – no excuses!

2.     The second tip is to make sure you either put the remote in your pocket when you don’t need it, or rehearse enough times so you know for certain you won’t fidget with it. Presenters who fidget with their flip chart pens, props or remote control look unprepared and uncomfortable. They don’t convey confidence in themselves or their message.

3.     The third tip relates to the way you interplay the slides, the space, the message and your personal brand. When it comes to bullet point slides or graphs that need explaining, be sure to introduce the slide first (while the slide is actually blanked out, or the previous slide is still up. You use the (blank) button on the remote, or the ‘b’ key on the keyboard to blank out the slides. Claim your space and engage your audience. Look at them with ‘whites of the eyes’, eye contact. Deliver your presentation. Assuming you are presenting with one large screen in the centre of the room, when you come to content that you would like to reinforce on a slide, press the (blank) button on your remote to reveal the slide, and walk right out of the way of your slides so you are not in the audience’s frame of vision.


The reason you do this is to ensure that you are not distracting your audience. If you have 2 screens on either side of the room then you can stay in the ‘hot spot’, or centre of the room. When you are standing out of the way, you can either talk the audience through what they are looking at, or you can remain silent. Enjoy the power of pause and try to avoid breaking your audience’s concentration as they read through the points on the screen or absorb you pictorial representation of the message.  If you must talk because perhaps you’re showing a chart that needs explaining, then still move out of the way and use an open palm to indicate to your audience that they should listen to you while they look at the slides.


The point is to be careful with your use of the remote. Learn how to use it properly and make sure your slide delivery is seamless.


Happy presenting! 



© Michelle Bowden 2020.  Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media. www.michellebowden.com.au

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