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Show slides to your advantage

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Even if you're a great public speaker, don't rely on words alone. Enliven your talk by integrating visual aids so that you give listeners something to see that reinforces your spoken points.

If your goal is to lead an informal brainstorming session or a small staff meeting, use a whiteboard or flip chart to guide you.

Maximize every moment by connecting with the group and engaging in dynamic give-and-take. Whenever you turn away from people to start writing, you sever that connection. That's why you should write as much as possible on the whiteboard before—not during-—the session.

For larger, more formal presentations, show slides. But don't overload each slide with too much information or you'll bury your audience in a data dump.

If you use slides, stand to the left of the screen. Westerners' eyes gravitate from left to right, so your positioning will cue your audience to focus on you first before checking out the slide.

Staying to the left also reminds you that you are the focal point of your presentation—not your slides. Nervous speakers try to meld into the background while hoping their slides take center stage. But you want everyone's eyes on you most of the time.

If offered a laser pointer, just say no. You may enjoy waving those wiggly red dots around the screen, but listeners find them distracting.

Lighting can influence whether people pay attention, so keep the lights at the brightest setting possible without making your slides hard to see. The minute you dim the lights, you risk putting people to sleep.

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