With Prezi being as popular as ever and PowerPoint presentation design advancing at a rate of knots never seen before, where does this leave the everyday presenter?
In days gone by, presenters had little more to worry about than very basic slides with animation on-click – (if your presentations are still like this – seek help now! – you’re in serious danger of getting left behind).
Today, presenters are faced with high end designs, super slick animation and interactivity that allows them to navigate around their presentation as if it were a website…
This is no bad thing. Presentations have moved on from bullet-point ridden, text heavy slides with more confusing content than clear messages.
Presentations with high quality design and powerful well thought out messages enable presenters to tell an impactful clear story that audiences understand easily, and are therefore more likely to follow the presenter’s call to action.
However, going from a basic bullet-point presentation to this kind of asset is like stepping out of your everyday saloon and jumping into a supercar – yes it drives well, yes it looks amazing, but without learning how to drive it properly, there’s a much higher chance of crashing!
A large amount of practise is a must (as with any presentation), advanced PowerPoint training sessions are an option, but there is also an entire range of tools to make live presenting that little bit easier…
Technology to help presenters…
Technically this isn’t a tech tool, it’s a person. A PowerPoint Operator is essentially a presentation designer who provides the presenter with the freedom to concentrate on their delivery alone, as the operator drives the presentation and performs the clicks out of sight of the audience…
It is essential that the operator and the presenter are well rehearsed and in-synch. As long as this is the case, this set-up can work really well. However, if things have been left to the last minute and either party is unprepared, you could end up with an embarrassing out-of-synch experience.
Presentation Environments: Large conferences or any large event presentation.
Main Pro: The only option to give the presenter freedom from controlling their PowerPoint presentation.
Biggest Con: Costly. It’s the presentation equivalent of hiring a private chauffeur.
This is where the presenter drives the presentation themselves using PowerPoint’s excellent Presenter View window.
Presenter View can be displayed either on a podium based laptop (if the presenter wants to stand still) or on a tablet device (if the presenter wants to walk the room or stage).
This fantastic tool gives the presenter some very useful information. It shows you which slide you are on, which slide is next and how long you have spent on the slide and presenting as a whole. All very useful information (especially if you are in a timed slot).
Having access to a preview of the next slide gives you chance to mentally prepare before clicking.
If you have trouble remembering your key points, the window also displays your slide notes where you could note these down. This means forgetful presenters no longer need to overfill slides with text.
The best thing about Presenter View is the fact that it’s a few snippets of useful information that is private to the presenter, the audience don’t see any of this, whilst the presenter retains full control of PowerPoint. Oh, and it’s free!
Presentation Environments: Large events and conferences, any presentation with a podium (suitable for a laptop) and even boardroom type meetings.
Main Pro: Gives the presenter lots of useful information. Can be tailored to what works best for the presenter’s style.
Biggest Con: It can make you lazy! It’s too easy to add your script and use it like an autocue, when really you should learn your presentation speech inside out.
There are plenty of free apps around (JumiDesktop and Hippo LITE) that turn your smartphone into a touch-screen mouse. This means the presenter can be anywhere in the room and use their smartphone to drive the presentation.
It certainly takes some getting used to but, with enough practice, this option gives the presenter the same level of control as a mouse, along with the freedom to move around the room. It doesn’t however, provide any of the information that Presenter View does – but for some presenters, a simpler approach will be preferred.
Presentation Environments: Relaxed internal presentations and meetings.
Main Pro: Full mouse control in the palm of your hand.
Biggest Con: Only works when both the PC and Smartphone are on the same wi-fi network.
The PowerPoint clicker is one of the oldest (and still most reliable) technical tools for presenting with. It’s a simple device that consists of forward and backward buttons, allowing you to move through your presentation in a linear fashion.
Most come with a built-in laser pointer too (how very 90’s).
Presentation Environments: Formal conferences and large events.
Main Pro: Really easy to use with a robust connection.
Biggest Con: Does not allow you to control interactive navigation.
A tablet presentation is for those informal small meetings, that don’t necessarily involve a presenter and an audience. It’s more likely to be an informal meeting where a prospect reveals their problems to a sales person who reacts with their company’s solutions.
The sales person is equipped with an interactive tablet presentation which they can use as a sort of digital brochure to navigate straight to the supporting information or products that solve the prospects problem…
This basically removes the need for a cumbersome laptop, or a meeting with no visual support.
Presentation Environments: Informal meetings, especially sales conversations. Event booths.
Main Pro: High end presentation collateral in the palm of your hand.
Biggest Con: Not very good in meetings larger than 3 people.
High-tech this isn’t. But a flip-chart presentation is one of the most powerful types of presentation. Imagine you’re trying to get a really complicated message to an audience that you’re in danger of losing…
A series of well planned white-board graphics keep the audience engaged as you draw out your solution. This broken-down delivery method helps them to absorb the information steadily. Full understanding increases the chance of buy-in and presentation success.
Presentation Environments: Smaller meetings where the audience and presenter can have a discussion.
Main Pro: One of the most simple ways to deliver complicated information.
Biggest Con: Not everyone is comfortable drawing in front of an audience.
Remember, when it comes to using any technology to help you present, it’s not about choosing the tool you like the sound of. It’s about considering your audience and the environment you’re going to be presenting in. Once you’ve done this, the best tool to use will be obvious.
If you need any help with this, please do just pick up the phone and one of Eyeful’s expert presentation consultants will be happy to help…