In the last section we looked at Black Boxes as a tactic – a related idea is:
Chapters in a novel
Consider how much harder it would be to read a novel without chapters: it’s almost unthinkable that an author would just write page after page of text. Chapters have a number of functions – such as giving you sensible places to stop reading and go to sleep if you’re reading in bed! – including signalling to the reader that: this is the end of a ‘thought’.
When the action starts again in the next chapter something will have changed. This might be which characters are involved, location, time or just the emotions of the people mentioned; but something has changed.
Using Black Boxes your presentation should be structured in a way which is analogous.
At the end of a chapter in a novel there is often a white page, followed by a chapter title (or at least a number). How can you emulate that in your presentation? It really couldn’t be more simple. Consider using a sequence of:
- a summary slide at the end of your black box to state the key point (random data in, sorted data out)
- a black slide to allow the audience to get the idea you’re starting afresh
- a title slide for your next section.
Yes, it’s a little formulaic, but you can start being more creative later, once you’ve mastered the basics!
| Getting more creative|
Black boxes can be signalled in other ways to the formula of slides above. It’s largely a combination of your imagination and the logistics of the room you’re working in that dictate/limit what you can do, but examples that often work well include…
- swapping speaker – if you’re doing a tag-team presentation
- changing medium – move from slides to flipchart etc.changing layout – if you stick with slides make your new slides with a different feel/layout… if it’s a report, consider something like changing the layout of the page by using columns or landscape layout
- changing your position – use the black slide as an opportunity to move from one side of the screen to the othera combination of these – and the formula above, all at once.