Presenting effectively with PowerPoint requires graceful navigation. Slides are meant to be an aid and not the focal point of the presentation.
Often, presenters without technical confidence do not understand basic commands and short cuts of Microsoft PowerPoint. Navigating PowerPoint with ease will help the presentation flow more naturally.
The following presentation tips are applicable while the slides are in presentation mode. This means that you’ve started the slide show where the full screen is the slide. If you want to:
- Move to the next slide – type any one of the following: n, space, enter, page down, right or down arrow, or by taping a lap top touchpad.
- Go back a slide – type any one of the following: p, back space, page up, left or up arrow
- Jump from one slide to another– enter the “slide number”, then click “enter”. This is the simplest way to go back to a previous slide or ahead to a slide instead of clicking through the presentation. If you have given your audience a copy of the presentation with the slide numbers and they ask a question about a slide, you can simply ask them for the slide number and pop right to it! Take note of the slide you are on so you can pop back to it using the same keys (i.e. slide number + enter) after you answer the question too! Also, if you know the title of the slide you want to jump to (or back to) you can right click on the slide you are on and choose “Go to Slide” and choose the slide from the menu of titles and numbers.
- Take a break or to get the audience to listen and not stare at the slide – click “b” for a black screen, “w” for a white screen. This allows the audience to break their focus from the screen while you talk, lead an activity etc. When you want to resume the presentation, just repeat the key you typed i.e. “b” or “w”.
- Go from the presentation to another open document– click “Alt” then “Tab” (or the button with the arrow over symbol) and a window should appear with a view of the other documents you have open. Tab over to the document you want. When you are ready go back to the presentation, click the “Alt” and the “Tab” key again to go back to the slide you were on. This technique can work well if you need to demonstrate a database, website or show an MS Excel or MS Word document during your presentation. Before you start your presentation, make sure you only have open the documents you want to access during your presentation so that the audience won’t accidently see private documents, email in-boxes etc. Another way to go to a website during a presentation is to embed the link within your presentation.
- Close the slide show– click the “Esc” (escape key) or “e” to exit the presentation. You can also right mouse click and choose “End Show”.
These simple techniques can be practiced and used to make a presentation flow and a presenter feel more confident using technology when presenting.