Do you want to improve your webcast with effective PowerPoint slides? If so, remember . . . If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
Photo by: Petr Kratochvil
1) Make it Interesting – PowerPoint Hell or Death by PowerPoint can happen when you’re sitting in a meeting or conference room and looking at streaming media. These two phrases were coined in response to PowerPoint being used poorly. Like many, you’ve probably wondered why so many presenters don’t realize that reading slides that are dense with text is really boring. Besides, your audience can read faster than you can speak. PowerPoint slides should reinforce what is said, not repeat it. Let the slides present the essence of your message. Get your point across graphically, either in writing or through an image that represents what you are saying.
2) Keep it Easy on the Eyes – Fancy fonts may be fun, but they can be hard to read. Although there is some debate, conventional wisdom and online tradition hold that sans serif typefaces work best. Sans is French for without. Serif refers to the fancy embellishment on the edges of letters. Arial and Calibri are good options because they don’t flash or shimmer. Stay away from ALL CAPS; they are harder to read than Initial Caps. If you can’t say it using a font that is size 30 or larger, find another way to communicate the concept or message.
3) Don’t think like a Presenter – When you’re part of an audience, what do you want? Chances are you’re looking for useful information presented in a clear, concise and interesting way. Participants in the room with you are like those watching your web video; they’re probably not looking for excruciating detail. When developing streaming video content, continually ask - so what? What is it that the audience needs to know, and why? Your PowerPoint and web video need to be compelling and complement each other.
4) Let Someone Else Proofread – It may not be convenient, but it is worth it. I couldn’t find a name for it, so I made one up – misproofread. That’s what happens when an author tries to proof her or his work; the mind fills in the blanks and perceives that spelling and punctuation are correct. Very few people can proofread their work effectively. PowerPoint slide proofreading goes beyond spelling, it includes making sure the look and feel are consistent and professional. You wouldn’t want typos to undermine the credibility of your webcast presentation.
5) Use Visual Interest, not Overload – Ah yes, the fine art of balancing elegance and flash. You want the PowerPoint to be colorful but stick to the basics. Use a master slide that isn’t overpowering, especially if you are going to include images or graphics. Use dark text on a light background, or light text on a dark background. Choose colors that are pleasing and will show up well using a projector as well as alongside your streaming video.
Don’t forget, it’s not about you, it’s about them (you remember them - the audience).