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Stop Tormenting Your Online Audience with Slides

Stop Tormenting Your Online Audience with Slides

Endless slides during an online presentation are agony. Suffocating. Mind-numbing. Torture.

"Death by PowerPoint" is real. As a speaker, if your online presentations consist of slide after slide full of text and endless bulletpoints, you are killing your audience.

Death by PowerPoint, people.

Slides were created to enhance your presentation. They were not created to be the presentation.

Keep the focus on you... the speaker. Keep your presentation personal and human. Audiences need that human touch, especially right now.

The goal of your online presentation should be to connect with your audience. You won't accomplish that if you're hiding behind slides.

Do your audience a favor, and lighten up on the slides. Use them sparingly and properly by following the guidelines below.

 

Guidelines for proper utilization of slides in an online presentation:

 

1. Don't use slides as your notes. If you're relying on the slides for your presentation, you're using the slides wrong. Your tech could fail, leaving you with no notes, but reading notes off a slide is also boring. Your audience deserves better.

2. Keep slides simple and visually appealing. That means go light on text and go heavy on images. It's impossible for your audience to read and listen at the same time. Don't force them to read slides when they should be listening to you. If you do use text, make it huge and use an easy-to-read font. Overall, images are better (if necessary).

3. Charts and graphs, when large and simplistic, display nicely on slides. That's an appropriate use of slides because it's a visual illustration your audience will appreciate (as long as you don't cram too much information or text in).

4. Information you're tempted to put on a slide would make a better worksheet or handout. Read that again.

5. Every moment does not need a slide. Seriously. Your online audience wants to see you and interact with you. When deciding whether to use a slide, ask yourself this question: Does this slide say it better than I can? If so, use the slide. If not, don't. A handful of carefully crafted slides during a presentation beats a thousand wordy slides any day. Ask yourself why you're really using so many slides.

 

Examples of slides:

See the difference? The second example is preferable. And even the second example is NOT necessary unless the image is necessary. Don't include slides just to have slides. Each slide must have a distinct purpose. Each one must be vital to your talk. Otherwise, just don't.

With online presentations on the rise, and Zoom fatigue also on the rise, we need to do our best as speakers. Inspire your audience with your words, interact with audience members, and allow your message to be enough. Utilize slides only when necessary, following the guidelines above, and your online presentations will be successful.

 

For presentation strategies, along with communication resources you won't find anywhere else, click here to join the Speaking Society. Your first month of membership is free.

5 Ways to Ruin Your Next Zoom Call

5 Ways to Ruin Your Next Zoom Call

Zoom is a powerful tool to keep us connected when we can't be together in person. We use it for coaching calls, virtual coffee chats and happy hours, online workshops, and team meetings. The possibilities are endless.

The ways to ruin Zoom calls are endless, too. Want to end up the star of a recorded Zoom call that goes viral on social media? You'll guarantee your total humiliation by doing the following:

1. Don't tell your household you'll be on a call.

No really-- I dare you not to warn members of your household in advance. Just kidding. It's important to warn the other people in your house that you'll be on a Zoom call; otherwise, distractions and embarrassment are virtually guaranteed. Your children will scream and run into the room to play, or your spouse will get out of the shower and walk behind you in only a towel. Warn your household first, and fully explain your expectations. We find it helpful to hang a stop sign on our office door before we get on a call so our family knows not to barge in and to be quiet.

2. Avoid muting your microphone.

Go ahead and leave your microphone on while you chew, yell at your kids, and take a leak. If you don't like that idea, then be sure to mute your microphone when you aren't talking. Zoom users who forget to do this will end up with a barking dog, toilet flush, or other background sounds causing distractions. Zoom has easy-to-use controls right on the screen to mute the mic. While we're at it, we'll mention the ability to shut off your camera in case you need to pick your nose, take a bathroom break, or simply eat your lunch. Be sure your camera is shut off when you don't want to be seen. Check and double-check before proceeding with nose-picking and other private activities.

3. Choose not to use headphones or ear buds.

Everyone loves to hear sound feedback, right? Wrong. To cut down on sound feedback, always use headphones. If you don't, the speaker's voice comes out your computer's speakers and goes right back into your microphone as an echo that will annoy everyone on the call. A simple pair of headphones or ear buds does the trick.

4. Avoid checking your lighting and sound equipment ahead of time.

Getting on Zoom in a dark room and making everyone wait while you plug in your microphone is a joy. Um, no it isn't. Make sure you know how to use Zoom before your call. Practice all the features. Test how far away from your camera you should sit. Check your lighting and sound beforehand, too. Good lighting is essential so everyone on the call can see your face properly. The key here is to try it all out before you get on the call so you can make sure everything works properly, sounds great, and looks right.

5. Don't check your background.

Go ahead and get on Zoom in the most chaotic part of your home or office. Show the world your hot mess. Let's be real... Dirty laundry, piles of papers, kid toys, and a cat grooming itself probably is not going to be seen as professional by the people on your Zoom call. Do yourself a favor and take a look at your background before your call. Make sure your background represents you well. When in doubt, utilize a flat wall and a virtual Zoom background. 

A little prep work goes a long way toward ensuring a successful Zoom call. Avoid the mistakes above, and you'll be able to connect with others in a professional and productive way.

 

To learn more about virtual calls and other forms of speaking, join our Speaking Society. You're invited to learn more about it here

5 Ways to Ruin Your Next Zoom Call | He says, She says | Carrie Sharpe | Carrie Sharpe