The next time you give a live demo in your web conference, do me a favor, would you? Take your damned hand off the mouse!
Most of us tend to “talk with the mouse.” We use it in the same way that many stage presenters use a laser pointer. You point out an item of interest by moving the mouse rapidly back and forth under the word or number, pretending as though you are underlining it. Or you make rapid circles around the item, drawing a virtual outline.
The problem is that what you see as the presenter is not what your audience sees. You see nice smooth, fluid movement of the mouse as it draws the line you have visualized in your mind. Your audience sees a cursor jumping spasmodically between random spots on the screen.
No matter how good your web conferencing software’s screen sharing performance may be, it can’t possibly keep up with sustained rapid movement of the cursor. The physics of reading the pixel changes on your display, comparing them to the previous scan, coding the data, sending it through the internet, and reassembling it into an updated image on the attendee’s screen takes a finite amount of time. If an attendee has a slow internet connection, a slow graphics processor, or an overworked computer, the problem is exacerbated. Some of the redraws get separated in time. Result? Disconnected appearances of your cursor here and there. The audience can’t tell what you are doing, but they sure as heck know they don’t like it!
Along the same lines, I often see presenters push the cursor idly around the screen while they talk. The movement has no purpose. They don’t even realize they are doing it. But since it is the only visual change occurring, the audience’s eyes are drawn to the movement. They start looking for meaning in the positioning of the mouse and get frustrated when there is none to be found.
The answer is simple. Move your cursor simply and deliberately to point at an item you want to talk about. Then take your hand off the mouse. Move it to the next item of interest. Then take your hand off the mouse. If you want to chat about something for a while, move your cursor out of the way of the image. Then take your hand off the mouse.
Learn this one simple trick and your web demos will instantly become a little more effective and a little less nauseating for your audience.