An Antsy Mouse

I attended a web conference today where the presenter was sharing his screen with the audience and demonstrating various features of a web product that shall remain unnamed. He was a fine speaker, however, he had a frustrating habit that I’ve seen with many web conferencing presenters – I call it antsy mouse syndrome. The presenter was constantly moving his mouse all over the screen as he spoke which was very distracting. In a physical classroom this distracting behavior occurs as well, when the speaker with a laser pointer tries to “circle” what he’s pointing to on the screen. Most speakers naturally have a tendency to gesture to support their spoken word, which is a good thing, however gesturing with a mouse or pointer tool in a web conference will leave your audience dazed as confused as they won’t know where they should focus on the screen.

To prevent this problem, all of your mouse or pointer movements should be slow and deliberate so your audience can follow your movements. As you point or click, tell the audience what you are doing, for example: “I’m clicking on the Reports tab to open up a drop down menu. Next I’ll select Manager Reports…etc.”

One way to check your mouse movements to is to log in as a participant and watch the participant view as you click through a web site or whatever it is that you will be demonstrating. Another technique is to record yourself as you rehearse. In either case, watch closely to ensure that your mouse or pointer movements are supporting your content and objectives and not taking away from your audience’s experience.