Master Your Message Blog

How and Why to Black Your Screen

Distractions can destroy your presentation. Here’s an example.

Let’s say you make a point like … “The chicken crossed the road” and put up a visual of a person dressed as a chicken.

You’d probably hear a hush in the room. Pretty dramatic visual! OK, let’s say that you then wanted to tell a five minute story about a particular chicken you know and what happened when she crossed the road.

BUT, for the entire five minutes, you’ve still got the title and visual of the chicken crossing the road, which your audience may find distracting. You see, the audience should have their full attention on you as you tell this fabulous story about the chicken.

Now, you have a key on your keyboard that will black the screen in either Powerpoint or Keynote. That’s the “B” key. Just click it once and your screen will go instantly to black. What’s more, it toggles. Click again and your beautiful chicken appears once more.

Many remote controls have a button on them for doing the same thing.

I suggest using the B key only when you have longer passages so that you’re not constantly switching the image on and off – which can be downright annoying.

There’s also a way to instantly turn the screen to white. That’s the “W” key. But, I wouldn’t suggest you use it. Because a white screen quickly becomes the center of attention. Our eyes are automatically attracted to light, so they focus on the screen, making you secondary. It also will serve as a backlight to you, making your facial expressions even more difficult to see.

For my video on this, go to “White Death on the Podium.”

But when you do need the attention on you and not on the screen, remember: “Dark it with a B.”

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