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What NOT to do: Don’t turn off the lights

When you’re sitting in a meeting, you know you’re way more likely to switch off or sleep if the presenter turns off the lights so you can see their slides more clearly.


I’m Michelle Bowden, an authority on persuasive presenting and business. Welcome to What NOT to do, a segment designed to help you eliminate all of those annoying little presenting habits that we pick up, and you should definitely get rid of them immediately!


So, what should you do instead of turning off the lights?


1. Maybe you could redesign your slides so that people can see them with the lights fully on.

2. Or maybe you need a backup. Maybe you need to go to the whiteboard, the flip chart, or the handouts.


My rule of thumb is if people can’t see your slides, don’t turn off the lights, turn off the PowerPoint. I know that’s a bit controversial. That’s really best practice.


There is one moment where it is okay, though, to turn off the lights and that’s if you’re demonstrating software, or you’re getting people to watch a video or something like that. You need them to zone right in and bond with the screen. If that’s the case, then it’s fine, absolutely, to switch off the lights. Just make sure you turn them back on again asap so you can reconnect with people’s whites of their eyes.


Happy presenting!


© Michelle Bowden 2021.  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 Persuasion Smart Profile (a world-first psychological assessment tool that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media.


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