Presenting Overhead Transparencies

by David Padfield

1. Don't turn around to look at the overhead or walk in front of the screen while the projector is on. Why should I even have to mention this? Anyone ought to know how distracting this is, but I see preachers do it in meetings all the time.

2. If you need to point to something on the screen, point on the actual overhead — it will show up fine even if you are just using an ink pen to point with.

3. Use progressive revelation — uncover a part of your overhead as you move to each new point on the chart.

4. Whatever else you do, don't leave the overhead on during the entire sermon! Turn the machine off after introducing a point. Leaving the projector on does two things: first, it blinds the audience; second, those you don't blind will die of boredom.

5. If you want to see if your overhead is projecting straight on the screen, use a mirror. I purchased a small mirror from an auto supply store and mounted it to the pulpit — no one in the audience can see the mirror, but I have a two inch view of the overhead without ever turning around.

6. Make sure you know where the back-up light bulb is at. Better yet, purchase a projector that has a built-in second bulb.

7. Always frame your overhead. Use an Insta-Frame (if you can still find one) which gives the appearance of having a framed overhead but without the added expense of having to frame each one individually. Or, use the 3M Flip-Frame Transparency Protectors when presenting color photographs via transparencies. They serve as a good way to present and then protect your overheads and they store easily in a three ring binder.

8. Don't shake the podium! Pounding on the pulpit while the projector is on will make the audience seasick! I can't believe how many preachers are guilty of doing this — it makes me feel like I'm in the middle of an earthquake.

9. Eliminate the "keystone effect" which is caused by aiming the projector too high. If at all possible, tilt the top of the screen towards the projector to eliminate (or at least reduce) the keystoning of your overhead.

10. Keep the dirt off your overheads. You might not be able to see your fingerprints on the overhead before you turn the projector on, but the audience will see your smudges as soon as you hit the button. Handle your overheads by the edges.

David Padfield is the preacher for the Church of Christ in Zion, Illinois