Getting your presentations right onlineNick Throlson
If you’ve ever seen a really good online presentation, you’ll have noticed how everything looks seamless. Nothing out of place, everything clear and well laid out with no wastage or patchy bits. It looks like magic, but it’s actually good organization and pre-production at work, creating a very thorough presentation that has literally everything locked down. As a matter of fact, what you’re seeing is a form of condensed “SEO for audiences”. It’s one of the most effective forms of marketing, and it’s also why some people can make a living as presenters.
Mapping out your presentation
There’s another element in presentation that doesn’t get much attention- Thinking. A good presentation provides information and answers questions. To do that effectively, the presenters put a lot of thought into mapping out the information the audience needs. This is a natural quality control, including the important points and critically excluding the unnecessary materials.
There’s a bit too much emphasis on structuring presentation as if it was a sales pitch. That can backfire, and it often also crowds out useful information the audience actually needs to make a decision. Good information is a sales pitch. You really can’t improve on it, and many gaps in information just generate skepticism and questions. The audience isn’t getting what it needs, by definition.
Presentation production basics
Online presentations aren’t the same thing as in person presentations. There’s usually no direct line of questioning for the viewers, so everything has to be contained in the presentation
These presentations must follow a clear logical thread:
- Orientation and introduction- The storyline synopsis
- The narrative of the subject- All hard facts, using text, graphics and progressing the information systematically as a history
- The current unique and interesting information- The stand out features, using graphics, charts, text and verbal information.
- Close- The references and handouts or links are critically important to establish a knowledge base to back up the presentation.
Graphics and visuals
Graphics must be more than just eye candy for the viewers. More really isn’t better, in this case. Diagrams, charts and other materials must be spaced to give the viewer a chance to absorb and understand information, not merely get buried in it and be left trying to mentally catch up.
The key is content quality. Good presentations are interesting. They engage the viewers. The presentation structure is also a good quality controller, keeping the content focused and relevant. This is a built-in “editor”, and it’s a very reliable way of making sure you don’t go off topic or over-emphasize some points and skim over others.
Getting interest is one thing, keeping it is another. Quality control will find the substandard stuff very effectively.
The “trick” is really applied, honest self-criticism.
- What’s the best content in the presentation?
- What information makes you certain you’re really learning something?
- What keeps you interested?
Compare what you know is good to the materials you’re not sure about. The rest is easy, and the presentation really builds itself.