Five Tips for Better Slide Delivery

Sections of this topic

    Businessman Writing on WhiteboardThere he stood, looking steadily at his slides projected on the screen. He stood like that for more than ten minutes, talking to the slides, totally disconnected from his audience. His slides were fine, but his delivery was not working.

    When you present with slides (and that probably means frequently) try following these guidelines to be sure you are maximizing your delivery.

    1. Get a clicker and use it to start, end and click through your slides. No more asking someone else to turn each slide, or bending over to reach the keyboard. Make it easy on yourself and keep the focus on your message.
    2. Keep your feet and shoulders turned toward the audience. Once you turn your body toward the screen, it’s all over. As long as your feet and shoulders stay forward facing you will be more likely to stay connected with the audience.
    3. Don’t read your slides. You know this, but if you get nervous you may succumb. Rehearse out loud, making sure you have something special to say about each slide. You won’t know this if your rehearsals are in your head. Practice out loud, preferably with a test audience.
    4. Don’t comment on every point that is on the slides. Sometimes a high-level discussion is fine. Pick out the pertinent items to elaborate on. Interpret the content for the audience. Describe it in your own words. Provide an anecdote that ties the content together.
    5. Break away from the slides. Start a discussion, get into an impromptu Q&A session, or blacken the screen and talk directly to the audience. This is fresh and unexpected. (Maybe you don’t even need all those slides.)

    See? It is not that difficult to deliver effectively with slides. Too bad so many speakers do it poorly, when adopting just one or two of these will definitely make a positive impact.

    I would love to hear from you. How do you speak when using slides? How do you keep the focus on your connection with your audience? How do you keep from reading your slides?

    Author Gail Zack Anderson, founder of Applause, Inc. is a Twin Cities-based consultant who provides coaching and workshops for effective presentations, facilitation skills for trainers and subject matter experts, and positive communication skills for everyone. She can be reached at or 651-340-3008.

    Web site:


    twitter: @ApplauseInc