This Presentation Trick Steals Back the Audience’s Focus Every Time

Joel Lee 06-11-2015

Think about the last time you sat through someone else’s PowerPoint presentation. Where was most of your focus: on the slides or on the speaker? Except in the rare case of extreme charisma, I’m willing to bet that you stared more at the slides.


And if that’s true of you, then it’s certainly true of audiences whenever you’re giving a presentation of your own. Slides are inherently interesting, especially when you adhere to these tips for an awesome PowerPoint presentation 5 Powerpoint Tips to Improve Your Presentation Skills Overnight You step up to the podium. Your palms are sweaty, your heart is racing, and just as you're about to open your mouth and speak, your mind goes blank. Need help? Read More .

So here’s a trick you can use: press the B key.

In this case, B stands for blackout, and this shortcut turns your presentation into an empty black screen. Doing this will immediately shift your audience’s attention back to you. When you want to show your next slide, hit B again to disable the blackout.

If you prefer white to black, press the W key (which unsurprisingly stands for whiteout). It’s the same concept. Hit W again to disable it again.

This tricks definitely works in both PowerPoint and Keynote, but also works in many of the alternatives to PowerPoint and Keynote Presentations Evolved: 4 Alternatives To PowerPoint & Keynote Compared Even though you can create really effective presentations with PowerPoint and Keynote, these apps are passé (not to mention relatively expensive), and it's time to try something new. Here are four refreshing alternatives. Read More . The shortcut key may not be the exact same, but the functionality is pretty much universal.


Have you ever used the blackout (or whiteout) function during a presentation? Do you think it’s actually helpful or not? Let us know by dropping a comment below!

Image Credit: Conference Presentation by Matej Kasetlic via Shutterstock

Related topics: Microsoft PowerPoint, Presentations.

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  1. Anonymous
    November 7, 2015 at 2:52 am

    That peaceful dark screen might just push them over the final drop off into dreamland too. Better use white. :)

    • Joel Lee
      November 18, 2015 at 2:49 am

      Haha, very true. Better use white indeed!