Today I’m going to cover a subject that many presenters ask about … Actually, that’s not quite right. I should say this is a subject that many presenters get wrong. And they don’t ask about it because they don’t even realise they are getting it wrong!
What’s the subject? Their visuals.
In most cases, this means their PowerPoint and Keynote slides. Depending on your webinar software, you can show other visuals as well. But let’s stick with slides for now.
If you’re an experienced presenter, you probably know how to create engaging slide shows as visual aids in your presentation. But did you know many of those slide shows just won’t work on a webinar?
Why? Because everything you show in your webinar has to be sent across the Internet to your participants. Even though most of them will have broadband access, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have very fast access (especially in Australia!)
Unfortunately, this means many of the things that first come to mind in enhancing your slide show simply won’t work, because they will be too slow when viewed over the Internet:
- Full-size photographs
- Interesting transitions between slides
- Animated movement to illustrate a point on a slide
- Video in a slide
You have to work diligently to simplify your slides as much as possible so they are sent efficiently to your participants. If you don’t, it will take a long time to load each slide, which will frustrate your audience and break up the flow of your presentation.
There’s a whole chapter about this in the book.
My book Webinar Smarts has an entire chapter (“Prepare Your Slides”) about designing good visuals. If you’ve got the book, I recommend you read it.
I’ll highlight here the four most useful things I think you can do to dramatically improve the performance of your slides.
1. Eliminate waste
If something is on a slide purely for decorative purposes, remove it.
This applies especially to photographs, which are often used (appropriately and tastefully) to add impact to a message. But something that works well in a face-to-face presentation can be too slow in a webinar.
2. Shrink pictures
Photos are great! And of course, they are much better than just slides full of text and bullet points. But they are slow to transmit over the Internet.
It’s a shame to lose these beautiful photos just because you’re doing a webinar! Fortunately, there’s a happy balance: The solution is to keep the pictures, but make them smaller so they are sent more quickly over the Internet.
So, if you’ve got a slide with just a photo and a caption, make the photo smaller, make the caption bigger, and leave a lot of blank space. You’ll still get the message across, and it won’t slow down the webinar technology.
3. Stop movement
Of course, you should remove any animation that’s there purely for decorative purposes. But I assume you’re experienced enough not to use this sort of animation anyway.
However, you should carefully examine all other animation, even if it’s there for functional purposes, and consider how to remove it. The less animation you use, the faster your slides will load.
4. “Build” slides
There is one type of animation that is acceptable – and very useful – for webinar slides, and that is the idea of a “build” or a “reveal”. This is simply where you keep adding bits to a slide as you talk about it.
Fortunately, this doesn’t cause any problems at all for the webinar software. Because each step is simply adding to what’s already there, the software only has to transmit the bits that have changed on the screen each time – and that’s quite fast.
So go ahead and use these slide “builds” to your heart’s content, without worrying about any adverse impact on your webinar. In fact, it helps your presentation, because – as with their use in face-to-face presentations – your audience only sees what’s relevant to them at the time.
Watch this video tutorial
I also ran a webinar about effective webinar visuals for members of my eGurus Community. We talked about how to plan and build your visuals, and in particular some very cool PowerPoint features for creating attractive graphics quickly.
If you’re a member of the eGurus Community, you can watch the recording here.
If you’re not a member, you could buy the recording here for $47. But I reckon you should seriously consider joining the eGurus Community instead. For $55 a month, you get access to this and all of my other webinar recordings, as well as a heap of other useful resources for your business. Find out more at eGurus.info.