In the days before Covid, when we presented in person at conferences or in meeting rooms, our audience viewed presentations from afar. Now they view at close quarters on their laptop or monitor. How could we change the way we use PowerPoint to offer the best presentation experience for our audience?
This article highlights six points to give a better audience experience.
1. Animations add visual effects to objects on your slide. Whilst animations can add to your presentation; when viewed at close range can have the opposite effect. Use animations sparingly so as not to distract your audience.
2. Slide transitions are an animation effect that moves your presentation from one slide to another. As with animations, at close quarters, slide transitions can be distracting. Only add transitions to an occasional slide for emphasis. Think wisely before adding fancy transitions to all slides.
3. Although many meeting rooms now have wall-mounted monitors, conference rooms tend to use ceiling mounted overhead projectors. These projectors do not display colour in the same way as monitors, and specific colour combinations can lead to difficulty reading the text on slides. I recommend not using white text on a coloured background for a presentation delivered via a projector, because the colour density can be low. However, it works well online. Go on, experiment with colour.
4. The presenter view will work online if you have a monitor and a laptop. Make sure you have the presenter view on the screen with your camera; otherwise, you won't be looking at your audience. You can change your primary monitor in your laptop settings, or use the monitor setting in PowerPoint on the slide show tab so that the presenter view appears on the correct screen. Start your slideshow first, then share the slideshow. If using Zoom, you can drag the thumbnail video up near your camera, to encourage you to speak to the camera and hence your audience.
5. Audio such as animation effects can be distracting when presenting online. They seem very loud compared with a meeting room/conference environment. I recently worked with one client to remove animation sounds effects as they no longer worked for online presentations.
6. My mantra for PowerPoint was always less is more when it comes to text; however, now that we have moved online, the audience can undoubtedly tolerate more slide content. I don't mean that you could copy and paste a paragraph to a slide, but there is certainly room for more visual content if required.