The presenter must be seen

by Dan Bond on 8th April, 2013

What is going on! I keep going to events where the screen is the focus and the presenter is standing in half-darkness at the side of the presentation area.

Because we can’t see the presenter properly we can’t read facial expressions which are especially important if you are having difficulty hearing, because the presenter is talking to the screen.  The problem is made worse because the lack of light on the presenter makes them think they are unimportant and therefore they stop making eye contact and making an effort

In half-darkness the presenter is reduced to providing a Sir David Attenborough style voiceover to accompany the PowerPoint images but without the Attenborough intensity or vocal flare.

Sometimes the only light is from a lectern shining directly up on to the presenters face making him look as if they are telling a children’s ghost story or narrating the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It is always worth remembering not to stand in front of a window; if it becomes bright outside the contrast with the room lighting can cause the audience to only see a silhouette.

While we are on light sources, word of warning about the ceiling down lights often found in offices and venues.  You may think you are standing in the light if you are directly below one but this can make you look like a ghoul if there is no light from the front. Down light is what they used for Elvis, because it makes all the contours of the body stand out, especially in tight trousers.

In short presenters are the most important part of any presentation and they should be visible, front and centre so every aspect of their presentation can be understood.

What is on the screen is not as important as the presenter so if you are speaking in public … find an appropriate light and stay in it.

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