Prezi Video has been taking the conferencing calling world by storm recently, and for a good reason!
Good communication has never been so important. But now that most of us are restricted to working from home, there are real challenges to keeping that human element in your presentation. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, there are real challenges to simply keeping your audience’s attention and stopping them from multi-tasking whilst they’re on the call!
When you share your screen to present your slides, with most conferencing software your webcam feed is minimised (or disappears completely), which means that the focus for the audience is no longer on the presenter. This is OK sometimes, but not always! Sometimes you want the focus to be on the slides, but most of the time you want the focus to be on the presenter. After all, the presenter is the star of the show. But how can this be achieved when presenting online?
Enter Prezi Video! With Prezi Video you can create slides (or “frames” as they call them) that take up a small area of the screen, leaving plenty of space for the presenter to build engagement with the audience. These slides can be presented live using most video conferencing software, or you can record a video to send out later. If you need to focus on the detail of a particular slide, you can toggle views to focus only on the slides.
The Prezi Video software is not too expensive and the learning curve is not too steep. However, it is a little bit limited in what it can achieve compared to PowerPoint. Nonetheless, this is an exciting development, and hopefully it will push Microsoft to develop something similar and more advanced in PowerPoint.
Here’s an example of Prezi Video created by our Account Manager Sara:
Give the gift of GIFs via PowerPoint
I must admit, I still don’t know how GIF is supposed to be pronounced, so I’m not sure if the alliteration above works well or not.
In an exciting new update earlier this year, Microsoft have decided to include “animated GIF” as an export option for a presentation in PowerPoint. So, now, you can use PowerPoint to create animated GIFs to your heart’s content.
Why do I care?
The GIF, which according to Wikipedia is now 32 years old, is the internet’s favourite format. No doubt you have seen plenty of examples of funny GIFs on social media. But they’re not only used for exchanging insults with your friends on WhatsApp!
GIFs can host attention grabbing animation with a very low file size, which makes them great for sharing. If you use them correctly, they can be a powerful tool to show off your brand’s personality, or to explain a process simply.
Where can I use GIFs?
GIFs are great for social media sharing, and most platforms make it easy to import your own GIF, for example on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. It doesn’t look like you can import your own GIF for Instagram, but as Instagram automatically plays any videos less than 15 seconds in length, you can always use PowerPoint’s “export to MP4” option instead.
Although this is slowly improving as more and more email clients are catching up, it’s worth noting that as it stands GIFs won’t always work on emails.
You can also add GIFs into your presentations. Although be careful to make sure the animation plays how you want it to.
The video below shows you how to export an animated GIF in PowerPoint.
And here is the final GIF:
PowerPoint GIFs Example
Get in touch with us to discuss how we can create engaging animated GIFs for your business.
Here at Presented, we are a team of 11 and we all work from home. We had a brainstorm and have come up with some tips based on what we do to stay focused.
Separate your work space from your living space
Have a clearly defined work area, even if it is not a desk but a spot at the kitchen table – “this is where I work”. Keep this space uncluttered while you are working.
Outside of the office environment there is no need to dress formally, but do get dressed at the start of the day – it signals you are ready to get going. We recommend no pyjamas, sorry.
A good set up when you work from home is definitely important! Invest in a comfortable chair… sitting on the sofa with your laptop on your knee is only comfortable for a short amount of time. Make sure that when you are seated you are in a good position with the monitor in a straight line with your eyes, get a monitor stand if you need to. Natural light is much better than artificial light so set up your workspace somewhere with plenty of natural light. Oh and stay hydrated people.
Remember to take breaks
It’s easy to get so engrossed in what you are doing that you forget to take breaks, just because you are at home doesn’t mean you don’t need to stretch your legs or give your eyes a screen break.
Cabin fever can be a problem for the work-at-homers so, if possible, get outside and get some exercise at least once a day. Even taking a quick walk around the block or changing into different clothes at the end of the day will help create a psychological shift between work and life.
Being at home means no watercooler chats and it can make your feel quite isolated. Make sure you have regular chats with your co-workers!
Be strict with your time
Schedule your time – use a planner for your work with deadlines so you can see when you need to get things done. If you need to find ways of speeding up your workflow, check out this blog post on the Quick Access Toolbar. Avoid working longer hours than necessary. It can be tempting with your computer right there to carry on working, so be strict with yourself on this, say goodbye to your co-workers and sign off.
Remember, you now get to choose the radio station and can eat smelly food for lunch without upsetting anyone. It’s the little things!
Here are some of the other top tips our team came up to stay sane during social distancing:
How to design slides for webinars and video presentations
Slide design for webinars and video presentations is important to get right. Follow these “how to” tips and have a really productive meeting!
How to design slides for webinars
Step 1: Design your slides with visuals and words for a stronger message
Fill in the dead air both visually and verbally. Seeing and hearing the message at the same time helps everyone to follow along and retain the information they are being given.
- Hold visual interest (and avoid distractions / multi-tasking by the viewers) by using interesting infographics and other imagery. Obviously, keep text content light, and aim to show more visual elements than words.
- Don’t over-do animation. There can be a screen lag and you don’t want viewers to miss key content due to animation. Likewise, best not to animate content to disappear, in case people are tuning in and out.
- Do however, use animation to show content slowly piece by piece – this avoids cognitive overload, ensures they stay in sync with what you are talking about, and helps hold their interest if it’s obvious that there is more to come on each slide.
- You may still be asked for a copy of the slides, so if you do send always make sure a key message is clearly identifiable on each slide.
- If viewers will be on a laptop or monitor, you can use a smaller font size than for an onscreen presentation. Knowing if anyone is on a mobile device would change this of course, and you’d still need a minimum of 18pt like you would for a slideshow.
- You can also get away with more a more muted colour palette – which you should avoid when projecting where contrast is more important.
- Interactive tools are the key to audience interaction. You could consider taking a poll or asking a question and requesting for answers via the chat function.
Before: Be nice and break the ice
I know, groan, but it could be a good way to start off the interaction by going around your virtual audience and asking them to introduce themselves. When the introductions are done, give your audience an overview on what to expect during the presentation. Depending on the length of the presentation you may want to factor in some breaks to give people the opportunity to stretch, take a loo break, or get a drink.
During: Slow down and focus your audience
When speaking consider that there could be a slight lag and speak slowly and clearly. To prevent your audience from becoming distracted, the screen should always tell them what is going on – then there is no need for them to switch between programs and lose focus.
Bonus step: A bit of etiquette, please and thank you
Finally, don’t interrupt other speakers or speak over them. If there is a mess of noise your audience will stop listening. Mute yourself as a rule, but be ready to join in – don’t let those tumbleweeds roll!
Good luck when you design your slides for webinars and video meetings!
Are you running a stall at a conference this year? Do you need a self running presentation?
If so, you will want something to catch people’s attention and pull them across to your kiosk. If you already have a presentation that will work for this, here are two simple steps to turn it into a self running presentation.
Important – You will be making some changes to the presentation, so before you start save out a new version of your presentation. That way you will still have the original version for when you’re presenting live.
Step 1: Create Automatic Timings
When you are presenting, you will want to have control over when the next animation or slide transition happens, so your presentation will most likely be set up so that you need to click the mouse to continue.
However, at a kiosk you will want the presentation animation and slides to advance automatically, so that people passing by your stand will be able to read and follow the slides.
There are many ways to set up the timings for a presentation so that they run automatically, but the simplest and quickest is to use “rehearse timings”:
- On the top ribbon, click Slide Show and Rehearse Timings
- Click each time you want to proceed to the next animation/slide
- Once you’ve finished the slides, PowerPoint will prompt you to save the new slide timings
Step 2: Loop Presentation
At a kiosk, you will want the presentation to loop back to the beginning again once finished. To do this:
- On the top ribbon, click Slide Show and Set Up Slide Show
- Select Loop continuously until ‘Esc.’
- Hit OK
The video below (from our Vimeo channel) shows these two steps in action. At Presented, we have lots of experience creating kiosk presentations, so get in touch if you want us to help you create something really eye-catching that will draw people to your stand. For more tips on setting up a killer exhibition stand, take a look at a guest blog on our website here.
Creating good looking slides in PowerPoint can be slow going sometimes! If you use it a lot, I’m sure you already know a few shortcuts to speed up your workflow. It’s time to become friends with the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).
An example of a Quick Access Toolbar
The QAT is great way to ramp up your speed even further. It’s a customisable toolbar which can house your most frequently used commands so that they are permanently displayed within quick clicking distance, either just above or just below the ribbon.
What should I QAT?
Yes, I think QAT can be used as a verb. Which commands you decide to add to your QAT is a very personal choice. At Presented, our designers have their own preferences but there is consensus about the must haves:
- Undo and repeat
- Alignment tools (e.g. Align Objects Left)
- Order objects (e.g. Send to Back)
Some of our other favourites include:
- Add an image from a file
- Crop an image
- Open the animation pane
- Open the selection pane
- Guidelines on/off
How do I add commands to the QAT?
Option 1: For commands that you can access in the ribbon
- Go to the ribbon and find the button that you want to add to your QAT
- Right click the button and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar
Option 2: For other commands
- Right click the QAT
- Click Customize the Quick Access Toolbar
- Go to More Commands
- In the Choose commands from: dropdown menu, select Commands Not in the Ribbon
- Find the command you want and click Add >>
- Click OK
Reorder your QAT
You might want to group similar commands together on your QAT (e.g. all alignment tools). To do this:
- Right click the QAT
- Click Customize the Quick Access Toolbar
- Select the command you want to move
- Use the Move Up or Move Down arrows until you are happy
Above or Below?
Microsoft gives you two options for the location of your QAT, above the ribbon or below the ribbon. However, there is only one choice that makes sense. Locate your QAT above the ribbon and your mouse will have to travel further from the slide to the command button. Over the years, this could add up to thousands of unnecessary miles. Choose below the ribbon and get your exercise elsewhere.
Check out our video below showing one of our designers using the QAT (OK – you caught us – the video has been sped up, we’re not quite this quick!)