It\u2019s OK to look at the screen and read from your slides during a presentation. Sacrilege, I know. But you have permission to look at the screen, and even read a little of it aloud, as long as you obey the following\u00a0rules:\n\nWhen to read from slides\n\nIt is fine to refer to the screen occasionally to sync up where you are in the presentation. But don\u2019t read every slide. I look to the screen about every other or third slide just to confirm where I am.\n\u00a0Don\u2019t read every word on a slide. Just highlight the important thing(s) you want the audience to be looking at on that slide.\nThe slides are basically the notes I speak from, so bullets can act as prompts. They serve as visual cues. But they are not your script and you should not recite bullets word for word. When looking at the slide, look for key words and \u201cread\u201d quickly to yourself, not aloud.\nIt is O.K. to read verbatim from\u00a0a slide if the bullet contains an important quote \u2014 or concept you are branding \u2014\u00a0that you want to make sure everyone gets.Give the audience a second before and after you read the full quote, allowing them\u00a0to see the quote "printed" on the screen for themselves (with the writer's attribution if appropriate) to let it register.\n\nHow to read from slides\n\nBefore you turn to look towards the screen, you must make sure you are standing far enough stage right or stage left so that you are not blocking the audience\u2019s view of the screen.\nTurn toward the screen. But don\u2019t turn your back entirely to the audience. Only turn about 90 degrees to look back at the screen, not a full 180 degrees.\nAlways turn in toward the screen. Do not turn away toward the walls before coming about a full 180 degrees to arrive at the screen.\nTry not to simply twist around at the waist with your feet planted firmly forward. Open up your stance with you inner foot leading back toward the screen.\nImmediately return to the audience after reading whatever it is you are going to read. Don\u2019t continue staring at the screen while you click to the next slide. Is the audience still with you? Were they listening and did they comprehend what it is that you read to them?\nIf it is a long passage, try to break it up into shorter more easily digestible bites.\nUse a pointer if you have one to show the audience generally where you are reading from on the slide\u2026where they should be looking on the screen.\nIf, heaven forfend, you are reading from the slide notes on your laptop, all the same rules from \u201cWhen to Read from Slides\u201d above still apply.\nWhen you read, it should be discovery reading.\u201cAnd look here\u2026what this says.\u201d Read the way you read with a child, as if you are both making the discovery at the same time, not a dull recitation. Do not condescend.\u00a0Share and\u00a0enjoy the audience's moment of discovery.\n\nPreparation\n\nYou should definitely look to the screen and read from your slides in rehearsal. In fact you must, because that is what you are asking your audience to do. If you have difficulty reading the bullets because the font is too small or the text is too dense, then your audience will have an even harder time.\n\n\nDoes the text read well? Do the bullets read the way you want the audience to make sense of them? If not, change them.\n\n\nIt\u2019s better if you don\u2019t read aloud from your slides during the presentation, but if you do it is not the end of the world. You have not failed if you look at the screen, and you will not turn to stone so long as you keep these guidelines in mind.