Use a Clicker to Improve Your Presentations
You might think that you only need one in big venues where you are too far away from the computer to use the keyboard, but this is not true. Even in your everyday office presentations you can boost your effectiveness by quietly using a clicker to change slides and to blank the screen.
Why is using a clicker so important?
First of all, by using a clicker you eliminate a major source of distraction both for you and the audience. If you are using the keys on your laptop then every time you want to change a slide you have to walk over to the laptop, find the key, press it and then go back to where you were. While you are doing this you have to pause momentarily what you are saying and you break eye contact with the audience. Every time you break eye contact and start the business with the laptop you break the connection between your mind and the minds of the audience.
Secondly, when you use a clicker you have much more control over the exact moment when it will be most effective to change. Sometimes timing makes a difference, and by having a clicker in your hand you can switch to an image on exactly the right word. It could be that you are saying "blah blah blah like this" and you want to change exactly on the word "this". Or it could be that you want to use a more advanced technique like starting to take about something then wait a few beats before you change slide -- a method that reduces the distraction of a new slide.
Thirdly, by using a clicker you are free to move around the room. You can stand in the place where you feel more comfortable, or where you are not dazzled by the projector. And you can move around freely, which gives you more impact when you are addressing questions or trying to quiet people who are having a side conversation.
Ideally you should have your laptop somewhere in front of you so that you can see which slide is currently on the screen, so that you don't need to turn round to look at it -- another distraction for the audience. But in any case you should always be using a clicker partly because it makes you look more competent and partly because if you only use it on special occasions you will forget to click.
If you don't already have one, go buy a clicker as soon as you can. Keep it in your laptop bag and use it for every presentation and every practice session. This is the easiest way to impress people with little effort.
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