Effective Presentations with Laser Pointers

Laser pointers are often used in presentations to show the hot spots or a part of the slide which the presenter is talking about. Most often people don’t know about the drawbacks concerning colorblind members of the audience when using laser pointers.

If you are not affected by color blindness the little red or green spot which is produced by a laser pointer can not be overseen. The little dot is so bright, shiny and clear that your eye easily finds it. Even following the light if it is moved quite fast isn’t a problem at all.

Now if we look at it through colorblind eyes this looks totaly different. Maybe this affects only people with red-green color blindness because of the color used in laser pointers. The laser pointer spot just isn’t that much outshining to colorblind people as it should be. Therefore it is very hard to follow the point – or often it can’t even be seen at all.

Intensive laser pointer usage combined with fast movements can make it very demanding for people affected by color blindness to follow a presentation.

Here are my suggestions to you for the next time you are doing a presentation. If you use a laser pointer and want to make it an enjoyable experience equally for all listeners follow these three guidelines:

  1. Hold still. Don’t move the laser pointer every time you start explaining something but hold still for a few seconds. This gives the listeners enough time to find the spot and see what you would like to emphasize.
  2. Move slowly. After hold still you can start moving, but do it slowly. Often presenters are moving much to fast and through this some persons are loosing track of the point.
  3. Say what you show. Forget the words here, there, over there and so on. Label it correctly like on the upper left side or the first part of the diagram. Through this your audience knows what you are talking about even if they can’t see the laser point.

Laser pointers are a great tool because they are very handy and can be used to point out things which are way up or on the other side of where you stand. But don’t use them like a lightsaber. Use them smart and well directed. Don’t let the laser pointer lead you but lead the laser pointer.

Related articles:
Colorblind Population
How the World is Seen through Colorblind Eyes