Last week I attended a presentation given by a successful CEO who was also a casual, comfortable and likable speaker.  There were two things that detracted from an otherwise informative presentation. The first was that he did not have a remote mouse so he kept walking three steps to the computer to press the ‘arrow down’ key and then three steps back to his preferred position.  If he were not so comfortable on stage, I am sure this behavior would have been more distracting.

The second thing he did that most definitely affected his delivery was to press that arrow key one too many times.  That is, when he was on his last slide, he advanced the show, but there are no more slides in his deck.   This is called “dropping out of the program” and what usually happens is the audience sees a black screen with white letters that say “End of Show.”  Not very polished.

In this particular case, the computer reverted back to “Slide View” – the equivalent of a Broadway stage manager letting the audience catch a glimpse of what’s going on back stage before the finale.  Ten minutes later when the computer went to standby mode, we were given the pleasure of watching the WindowsXP icon bounce around the screen (the speaker is always oblivious, I find).

The icing on the cake was when the computer went to sleep and up popped a blue screen with big white letters that said, “NO SIGNAL.”  All while he was answering questions.

Always create a visually interesting final slide.  It will not only be a signal that you should put down the remote (and yes, please keep one in your bag), but it will allow you to close your presentation on a more professional note.

– Barbara