Here are six ways to provide a better audience experience when presenting online with PowerPoint.
In the days before Covid, when we presented in person at conferences or in meeting rooms, our audience viewed presentations from afar. But now they view at close quarters on their laptop or monitor because we are viewing presentations from home. How could we change the way we use PowerPoint to offer the best presentation experience for our audience? Here is a list of six things to consider to engage your audience and not distract them.
Animations add visual effects to objects on your slide. Whilst animations can add to your presentation, viewing at close range can have the opposite effect and distract the viewer. This is because they are right in front of you. So use animations sparingly so as not to distract your audience.
PowerPoint Slide Transitions
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. So only add transitions to an occasional slide for emphasis. Think wisely before adding fancy transitions to all slides.
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. Certain 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 words can be hard to read. But it works really well online. So go on, experiment with colour, because your audience will find it much more engaging. If you’d like to know more about contrast, see my Colour Contrast blog post.
PowerPoint Presenter View
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 because 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 so that you are more likely to speak to the camera and hence your audience. Here’s an example below.
Audio such as animation effects are distracting when presenting online. They seem very loud compared with a meeting room/conference environment because when we are online, many of us listen with a headset. I recently worked with a client to remove animation sound effects as they no longer worked for online presentations. If you don’t have animation audio, don’t bother adding it. But if you have a video to show in your presentation, don’t forget to share your sound if using Zoom.
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 written content if you need it.
So please take a moment to think about these six things before you plan your next PowerPoint presentation, and I guarantee your audience will thank you!