PowerPoint and online presentations – the unexpected comeback kid

One thing I learnt yesterday (during my webinar) is that PowerPoint is the comeback kid.

Here’s the irony – I have been encouraging presenters to play the audience not the PowerPoint. On stage, use your presence – eye contact, confidence, posture – and only refer to the visuals, if needs be. Really good presenters barely need to use visual aids.

We’ve all heard of death by PowerPoint and we almost got used to presenting without slides.  Now PowerPoint presentations are a crucial part of the online package. And for one very simple reason – on most teleconferencing platforms (Zoom, WebEx, Hangouts) the slide deck dominates the screen for the audience. They see you in the bottom right hand corner if at all.

Your audiences will be focussing on the PowerPoint slides because you, glorious you, are not standing in front of them with all your fantastic stage presence. And you need to have a full story version of your presentation for attendees and those people who couldn’t make the webinar.

Here are some things I think about when designing a PowerPoint deck for online presentations:

  1. Decide whether you are going to share your desktop or the application (PPT or PDF). If you share your desktop make sure you don’t have Facebook photos of you in lockdown or copies of your tax returns in view.
  2. You are going to convert your PowerPoint into PDF format to share – therefore do not use fancy visual effects (you shouldn’t anyway).
  3. Use title slides to give your audience a clear roadmap of the presentation. I aim for 18 to 20 slides maximum for a 60 minute webinar.
  4. Your deck should read like a storybook. To make it easy to follow use the top section for succinct, main messages. The main sections can include your proof points – data, graphs, images.
  5. Use everyday spoken language for the ear not for the page. This is an audio visual experience not a written one.
  6. Use SmartArt to add the visual elements and colour. SmartArt forces you to use fewer words and to think visually.
  7. Cut down on repetitive use of one dimensional bullet points and use one font type and no less than 32 in size.

I have recently been delivering a series of 75-minute training webinars for 80 people across multiple time zones. I recorded 15 minute abridged versions that people can follow while flipping through the PDF version. My aim is to provide an audio version those people who could not attend.

More of our clients are asking for training in how to structure PowerPoint decks for online presentations and webinars.

PowerPoint for online presentations – training
  • Structure of a PowerPoint deck (titles, key messages, images)
  • Content – how to write engaging content for presentations
  • Key messages – how to write bullet points, describe trends, key data
  • PowerPoint features – SmartArt, tables, diagrams, images
  • How to use slides in your presentation – coordinating with your speech

 We will discuss and practise activities that can make your PowerPoint deck work better for your online presentation.

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If you would like to know more about presenting online, writing content for PowerPoint and speeches please contact us as info@communicatingeu.com