One Simple Thing #1 - Blank Slides

Welcome to the checkmyAV blog, One Simple Thing. Each week, I’ll put in one easy change you can make in order for a better event, presentation, show…whatever. The goal isn’t to train you on something crazy, but just give little tips that can make a big difference. Check back for updates, and let me know in comments/forums what you think and what you’d like to see!

Up first, a little presentation help:

Put a blank or logo slide in between long slide changes, new presenters, during breaks, etc.

A blank slide (or if you have a logo for the event, feel free to use that as well, but from here on out I’ll just say “blank”) will help smooth transitions if you have different topics, presenters, or long time gaps between slide changes. If you are presenting and have the same slide up for a long time and after you have switched topics can be distracting to the audience. A picture or information that is no longer relevant can take attention away from what you are trying to get across. Switching to a blank slide will shift the focus back to what you are saying and not what is no longer relevant on the screen.

Sometimes, the distraction can be hard to take. For example, I have experienced a presenter who early in his presentation put up a picture of his great-grandkids making a mess of their ice cream. It was a funny shot and he used that to help describe how life is as a grandparent. The next slide cue was about ten minutes later, and in between he spoke on the horrors of the Korean war and being laid off from work. And no, he wasn’t leaving the slide there to juxtapose the darker side of life. At times, the picture took away from what he was trying to say and the message he was looking to get across. The slide finally changed when he moved on to some life lessons he had listed, but it was more of a relief to remove the picture.

Another reason to use a blank slide is for transitions during the event. If two presenters are listed in the slide show, but they are being introduced separately, use the blank slide in between so the wrong title isn’t being given to the host. A blank slide will help smooth any delays between getting new people on and off the stage or to let them get settled without feeling like there is dead time. A blank slide before and/or after a video will help cue the video and give any time for audience reaction, while also allowing for comments from the host before moving to the next item.

Using a blank white, blank black, logo, or template slide from your presentation during transitions and delays will help give the look of a smooth, well put together event while only adding just a little bit of work on your part. Give it a shot at your next event.