Improve Presentations With Black Slides

Temporarily switching to a black display or slide is an effective way in PowerPoint to change focus, add audience interaction or to handle discussions or content not related to the current slide in a presentation. Why bother? You don’t want to leave your audience distracted by the slide in front of them especially if the presentation or conversation has changed. Plus, a black display quickly signals a change in topic or material.

Explore the 5 ways to work with black slides in PowerPoint:

  1. Presentation Remote
  2. Projector Remote
  3. Quick Slide Show Keyboard Shortcuts
  4. Create a Black Slide
  5. End with a Black Slide

Presentation Remote

The easiest way to switch to a black display is with a presentation remote. If you use one, practice using the button to go to a black screen so you are less likely to accidentally hit this button when you don’t want it.

Projector Remote

If a presentation remote is not available, you may have access to the projector remote control. This is more likely for smaller or internal presentations when the A/V equipment is not so tightly controlled as with conference sessions or large groups. Many projector remotes have an option for “Black Screen”. Also, practice turning this feature on and off. Do not choose “Standby” as it may take several minutes to “wake-up” the projector from this mode.

Quick Keyboard Shortcuts to a Black Display

While running your PowerPoint slide show, easily switch to black by pressing the letter B (for black) or press the [Period] key while running your slide show. Just press B again to restore the presentation.

You can also press the letter W (for white) to toggle/switch to a white display. A white display, however, is often too bright in many presentation environments.

Create a Black Slide

As with other parts of a presentation, you may also want to build in or choreograph your interaction and other transitions in addition to the slide show. Do this by adding a black slide at the point where you want to temporarily change focus.

One advantage of a black slide over just turning the screen black is that, when you continue with your presentation, the next slide or topic will display instead of the slide you were previously displaying. Plus, a black slide may “jog” your memory about planned transitions.

To create a black slide in PowerPoint:

  1. Create a slide with a Blank Layout.
  2. Pick on the Design tab > Format Background.
  3. Click Hide Background graphics.
  4. Choose Solid fill and pick a black from the Color options.

End with a Black Slide

Another way to work with a black slide in a PowerPoint presentation is to choose whether or not you want to end your presentation with a black slide. Although this is a default in PowerPoint, you can quickly verify or change this option.

To set the option to end a slide show with a black slide:

  1. File > Options.
  2. Select the Advanced category. Under the Slide Show section, check or uncheck End with black slide and OK to continue.

Bonus Tip:

To avoid moving too far at the end of a PowerPoint presentation and accidentally exiting out of a slide show, I like to add a few “buffer” slides I don’t plan to show. If I do, however, click too many times with my presentation remote, the extra slide will display. Good choices for these ending slides include a simple slide with your company logo or website or an appropriate photo.

Finally, as with any presentation, make sure to practice your presentation (along with planned interaction) so that you can effectively and successfully deliver your message.

Were these PowerPoint tips helpful? Discover more PowerPoint techniques and shortcuts here.

Do You Know How To Better Control Negotiations? Negotiation Tip of the Week

“I’m not sure who was being manipulated, us or the opposing negotiators. They seemed to be negotiating by a hidden power source. Over the 3-week course of the negotiation, they constantly took exception with the positions they adopted. Something kept making them change their position!” Those were the words of an overly befuddled negotiator as he lamented about the tactics the opposing negotiation team employed.

In every negotiation, there are four factors that you should be aware of. Those factors have a profound impact on the flow and outcome of the negotiation. Thus, if you’re aware of how and when to use them, you’ll have better control of the #negotiation. Those factors are money, power, ego, and control.

Money

Some people are motivated by money for its purchasing value. Others use it as a way to keep score (i.e. point the direction of their success, up or down). In either case, the outcome of the negotiation may hinge on the perception one has of how much he gained, compared to how much you got and/or he left you with.

If you’re engaged in a negotiation with someone of this mindset, realize that money is the source through which he’ll evaluate the negotiation’s outcome. To combat this mindset, speak in terms of money per how he’ll lose opportunities if he doesn’t accept your offers. You can also use scarcity (i.e. the offer will only last a short time) to motivate him to take action sooner versus later. Keep in mind that you may possess something more valuable to him than money.

Power

Everyone wants the semblance of power. You need to know their sense of power in order to understand what source(s) might stimulate them to action (i.e. why they want it, what they’ll do with it, how it will make them feel).

Once you understand their sense and source(s) of power, you’ll have greater insight as to how to advantage it. Addressing it may be in the form of allowing the other negotiator to think he has power, based on the demeanor you project (i.e. someone that’s non-confrontational, go along to get along).

Ego

Everyone has an ego. In some negotiations, it may behoove you to deny the recognition of someone’s prestige, accomplishments, or whatever recognition sought from you by the other negotiator. The lack of recognition, related to one’s achievements, can be a powerful strategy to employ. You can withhold or extend acclamations until he acclimates to your position.

You can use praise for this purpose. You’d stroke his ego, when appropriate, to keep him aligned with the outcome you seek. Vary the degree of stroking based on the intent and outcome sought! In either case, make him feel that he’s earned what you grant him.

Control

Control is a human factor that determines how safe or unsafe someone feels. Like the other factors mentioned, control is perceptional. Thus, if you think you have or don’t have it, you’re right.

To create the fa├žade of the other negotiator having control in the negotiation, make concessions that may appear to be to your detriment; red herrings can be used for this purpose. In some cases, granting control at the appropriate time can be a way to control the negotiation. Before granting it, know it’s perceived value.

When you utilize the four factors mentioned above in your negotiations, you’ll be better positioned to use those factors to your benefit. Doing so will allow you to maximize your negotiation efforts… and everything will be right with the world.

Limit Your Presentation to a Few Key Points to Reduce Stage Fright

One of the big challenges that we have to overcome as speakers is that we tend to think that if we don’t get the audience to understand EVERYTHING that we know about the subject that we are speaking on, then we have failed as a speaker. That is an impossible standard to live up to, but it is what most of us have in mind when we are designing our presentations.

For most people, we begin to design our presentations by thinking about everything that we know about the subject, and then trying to catalogue that information either on paper or into a PowerPoint slideshow. Once we get everything written down, the next step is to try to figure out how to get ALL of that information into the timeframe that we have for the speech.

This type of preparation makes it very difficult for your audience to come away with a concise understanding of what you covered, and makes it extremely difficult to deliver. (By the way, it makes you BOOOOORING too.)

One of the things that we know about the human mind is that we like to compartmentalize things, and the brain likes to focus on just a few key pieces of information at a time. So instead of trying to pack your presentation with a ton of data, focus on just a few key items at a time.

The brain can comprehend one item pretty easily. Two items are not so tough to remember. Three items give a balance between variety and precision. Four or five items in one sitting are okay, but make it more difficult to retain the information. Once the information that you are covering exceeds five key points, it will be extremely difficult for your audience to remember the items that you covered. Since that is the case, limit your talking points to just a few key concepts, and then back up those key points with data, stories, analogies, etc. to add some meat to your presentation.

If you have a lot of information that you HAVE to present to your audience and it is critical that the audience remembers the information, then it’s a good idea to give them the information in bite-sized pieces. A good way to do this is to take breaks from time to time to limit the data that is being delivered in one sitting. For instance, if you have ten things to cover in a morning meeting, cover three points and take a ten-minute break. Then come back and cover three or four more points, and take a ten-minute break before coming back and finishing the talk. When you design your presentations this way, you’ll get your audience to retain much more of the material that you deliver.

If you are limited on time, and you have to deliver a bunch of data, then you have to manage your expectations. Your audience is much less likely to remember the information, so you might want to prepare a handout with a summary of the data. Regardless, realize that no matter how good of a presenter that you are, if you data dump on your audience, they will be fairly distant from you and likely to be bored.

In public speaking, less is more!