The pros and cons when you outsource presentation design

Outsourcing is commonplace in business. It makes sense to contract out functions to third parties when you do not have the internal resource available. Companies outsource all sorts of functions from marketing to sales, customer service and HR.  Taking the outsource of presentation design as an example, we’re going to look at some pros and cons.

So, let’s get into it. Why should you outsource presentation design?

  • Outsourcing PowerPoint design gives you access to skills and expertise that you do not have in-house
  • You don’t have to employ a dedicated presentation designer, which saves you money on benefits, training, recruitment time etc
  • Your presentations should be a much higher quality once they are professionally designed, which makes you look good
  • It’s easy to budget for some external design help
  • Outsourcing presentation design will free up your team to work on what they are good at
  • You’ll gain competitive advantage when your presentations are more impressive visually than those of your rivals

Of course, handing over control of a business function to someone else, brings risks of its own:

  • The presentation design may not meet your expectations (less talented freelancer perhaps?)
  • The work may miss your deadline, depending on the workload at the design agency
  • You may experience communication problems which can cause delays
  • There is a risk of confidentiality breach (of course this risk can be easily mitigated with an NDA)
  • Outsourcing design can be costly if you don’t shop around

Taking all of this into account, if your external presentations could do with a design refresh and if you have the budget available it is definitely worthwhile looking into outsourcing your presentation design.

And do we need to say we’re the best presentation design agency to outsource to? We don’t need to. But we just did.

How to share presentations online (or host on a website)

You can share interactive, animated and fully functional presentations online!

This avoids the problems of sending presentations via email: such as high resolution images and videos, making the file size quickly mount up. And fixes the issue with fonts not embedding (which you can’t do on a Mac, but you can do on a PC providing it’s the right font type!). Sharing a presentation online also solves the problem of which PowerPoint version viewers have installed… and of course the potential issues of viewing on a Mac vs PC.

Here’s how to share your presentation online:

1) Simply convert PowerPoint to HTML5 to share your presentation online

We’ve used software from iSpring Solutions. They offer a free trial so you can give it a go, or we can convert for you.

Take a look at the HTML5 examples we have created below:

Access Sport sample
Video overlay sample

2) Once converted, just upload the files to your own website

Whilst you may need to ask your web dev team to do this, it’s simply uploading files. No coding, and is easy to do yourself with an FTP uploader.

Once uploaded, you can send a link to your presentation that can be opened in any web browser. Safe in the knowledge that fonts, animations and visuals will show up as expected with quick load times. Naturally – test the results before sharing 🙂

The conversion software at iSpring handles most animation effects. There are a few it doesn’t (yet) convert. The most significant lack is the Morph transition. This isn’t a deal breaker of course, there are traditional animation methods that can replace the morph effect. (Ahhh, what we used in the good ol’ days!)
Full list of PPT animations that are converted into HTML5.

And that’s it.

Get the software, convert, upload. Sounds good? Need our help? Get in touch with the team to discuss your needs further.

How to look good in a virtual presentation

Tips on how to look good in a virtual meeting

How to look good in virtual presenations from Presented.

1. DECLUTTER DON’T LET YOUR BACKGROUND BE DISTRACTING

You might think you’re adding interest and quirkiness, but having a messy background is distracting. The most distracting are items with text – your viewers will be reading those. Sure, you might want to show off your bookshelf, but if those spines are readable, well, just know some audience members will indeed be reading instead of listening to you. So if your meeting is an important one – declutter your background. Pick up stray items, plan what’s visible.

You can often change the angle of your screen to find a better view without rearranging furniture, so try different angles. A friend had her drying laundry out one time – we agreed the best place for that was behind her chair. Blocked from view, but her clothes were still drying!

 

2. CAMERA TEST YOUR ANGLES RAISE YOUR CAMERA TO YOUR EYE LEVEL

You don’t want to be looking down your nose in a virtual prseentation, i.e. at people. Neither do you want them to be looking up your nostrils!

Likewise if the camera is too high it may mean your eyebrows are constantly raised… surprise isn’t always the right look to have on your face 🙂

A great tip is to set up a dummy meeting and record it. Position your camera in various places and heights and when you play back the recording you can objectively see what works best for you.

 

3. DROP THE MIC

You don’t just need to look good, you need to sound good in a virtual presentation. Using in-built microphones generally gives you below par voice quality. If presenting is an important part of your job then invest in a mic so that you sound beautiful! Vocal clarity and power will help you to convince and connect with your audience. There are many brands out there – and many recommendations for different price points.

 

4. LIGHT UP!

Whilst natural light is often going to give the best results, we can’t always control where windows, power sources, desks and other obstacles might be. So for good lighting, use a lamp at 45 degrees. Again, record your set up and see what works best for you. And what works at different times of day. A lot of pros use a halo light. Avoid “arty” lighting where half of your face is in shadow. It might look “cool”, but you shouldn’t be going for that look. You should be connecting with your audience and showing you are open, honest, transparent (not literally transparent we hasten to add). Shadows look arty, but don’t display openness in a virtual set up.

 

5. KEEP EXPERIMENTING – GET IT CHECKED

Ask a friend or colleague. You can’t always be objective about your own appearence. If you have recordings get some votes on what works. And keep working on improving this. Once you have your set up sorted – it’s going to boost your confidence knowing that you look good.

And it might help you to look at your own camera feed less when in that virtual presentation. We all have a glance to check we look good right?

 

6. NOW YOU LOOK GOOD, MAKE SURE YOUR SLIDES DO TOO…

You didn’t think we wouldn’t mention that your slides need to look good in a virtual presentation too right?
Don’t waste hours of your time sorting and formatting your slides – outsource that stress and time drain to the professionals. We’ll help you to look good.

Interactive PowerPoint Samples from Presented

Interactive Presentations have many benefits

Have you seen interactive presentations in action? Please check out this screen recording of one of our portfolios. We’ve collated a number of cool features in PowerPoint that we think not everyone will know about. Press play and see which are familiar to you.

There’s no secret behind these interactive presentation skills. We use a mixture of hyperlinks and animation triggers. It’s all in native PowerPoint, so if you have Office 365 installed (and updated) then you’ll have the ability to use all these interactive PowerPoint features. Easy!

Interactivity boosts engagement

Having a non-linear presentation gives a more personal feel when you are delivering any kind of pitch or presentation.

Clicking through a PowerPoint menu can for many reasons: driven by your own curiosity, your prospect’s questions, or the bespoke relevance to your audience for example. This non-linear exploration improves attention as viewers believe the option choices are more relevant to them. And they’re right! (or they should be!) Relevance is a big deal when it comes to engagement.

Interactive features can keep your screen uncluttered

By using space “off the screen” we can make the most of the viewing space on each slide. Cluttered slides are BAD for audiences. They pose a risk of cognitive overload, and hierarchy of information can be lost: viewers don’t know which bit of content is the most important so eyes jump around and so does focus.

Having content “enter” draws attention to it – and the “exit” feature (like for a video) is ideal to lighten their load too.

Interactive presentations impress your prospects / leads / clients / audience

Interactivity is such a good way to present case studies to your clients.

A full page of logos is perfect for every eventuality. Then only click on the ones that are relevant to that meeting: so you deep dive into that story alone. You may click on ones that your prospect asks about, or ones that you feel are the best to demonstrate your value. Either way the benefit of having a full page or menu list of all the case studies gives more credibility about your experience and expertise. Nice bonus!

If you think interactive presentations would give you more of an edge – get in touch. We’d love to help you.

What value does presentation design bring?

You may need more than presentation design…

Of course, our team does superb presentation design. We’re simply expert graphic designers and can give you even more. So whether you need to save time, up your presentation ante, get your teams producing consistent material or need a creative blast. We’re here for you.

Messaging:
Our team boasts some amazing wordsmiths and strategists. By crafting a convincing storyline, your presentation will convince and convert more of your audience. Whether you are raising investment, pitching, updating internal stats or running through some change management – your story should be memorable and clear. We’ve studied the neuroscience behind communication and can help your presentation hit the mark.

Be surprised by PowerPoint:
Avoiding a Death by PowerPoint experience is even more of a challenge now so many of us are presenting remotely. It’s too easy for an audience to multitask, and our attention spans are getting shorter by the week.

To increase engagement we can recommend several of PowerPoint’s latest features. From Zoom dashboards to Morphs and from Hyperlinked Menus to Triggers. Interactive presentations allow you to respond to your audience’s needs and interests. Movement and a non-linear approach will help you to captivate attention. And you’ll likely get kudos points too.

Template services.
Yes, even the word templates sounds a bit boring, but they are genius! A correctly built user-friendly template will save you masses of time and will ensure that your teams produce nice looking (on brand) slides time and again.

Just say the Word.
For a long time we’ve kept it quiet that we’re expert in Word. But step into the light dear team – yes we can take your Word woes away. We set template styles, colour palettes to match branding, and basically make Word look more like InDesign. Indeed, if you have an InDesign and want it to be in Word instead, or even PowerPoint (yes of course), then we are your team.

Some surprising things too.
We’re graphic designers. So can turn our hand to many areas, such as infographics, and ad hoc items like conference banners, chocolate bars & wrappers, logos, lorry curtains, postcards etc. If you aren’t sure we can do it – just ask, we’ll always answer honestly about our expertise.

Pimp us out.
We already partner with many agencies, often working as a white label provider. If you want to offer your clients a little of what we can do – then we can provide you with an unbranded portfolio for you to share.

4 strategies to improve virtual body language  

Having better virtual body language will improve how you connect and engage with your audience online.

You may have noticed that presenting face to face feels different to presenting virtually.

Take reading the body language in a room for example. Today’s wall of muted participants can leave you feeling funny, or unfunny should you have attempted a joke. And if they aren’t on mute (how dare they!) then all sorts of background noises can create interference, distracting your audience and potentially interrupting your flow.

Indeed, now that an audience is no longer held captive by the auditorium or meeting room, viewers can multitask whilst still appearing to be listening. Or they might hide their video feed to obscure possible inattention or children. Or we get distracted by said children or pets (hurrah!). Oh, and they just left! Did the wifi drop or did they just pretend it did? Like that old “oh, I’m losing signal” escape when on your mobile phone… (cue amusing verbal sound effects).

This change in the presenting dynamic has drawn attention to the fact that it’s less easy to see engagement, so our natural reaction (rightly) is to work on engagement.

I’ve read ‘new’ advice for presenters suggesting that more slides and more variety will hold attention better when presenting virtually. Well, I have a newsflash: this has always been the case for all presentations! Looking at one slide for more than a few minutes gets boring quickly. Even in an auditorium. Presenters often believe they are doing a mighty fine job spending 10 minutes on a slide because no one told them any different. They’ve done it that way for years. But those audiences couldn’t escape and we simply didn’t expect anything else from a presentation experience.

So yes we do need to work on engagement. Aside from interactivity, better slide variety, breaks, break out rooms and other energy-changers, body language still plays an important role when you’re essentially presenting to your own monitor.

You may feel it’s challenging to show body language in the virtual environment. But it’s still important to be aware that it does play a role. Our physical gestures can be subconsciously interpreted by those we are communicating with – this can work for or against us depending on the type of body language we use.

No matter how pretty a set of slides is or how informative the content, if the speaker is stiff and awkward the audience will feel uncomfortable too. So how can you appear confident and assertive when you are really a bag of nerves inside?

1: Smile when talking.

Smile because it helps your delivery. Try it (do it now if appropriate): say “smiling helps your delivery” both with and without a smile. Does your intonation change at all?

Aside from a smile helping your voice. It lights up your face. Yes, even yours, it really does. Indeed be aware of all your facial expressions. Show them, hide them if it’s wiser, but remember your face is in your power – so use it.

2: Make eye contact.

When presenting virtually you should stare down the barrel of your camera lens. It takes some getting used to. Keep practicing.

Or think of it like you’re delivering to your monitor. But you love your monitor, don’t you? Take a good fond look at it, go on, bat your best heart eyes. (This should make your eyes smile…)

3. Maintain good posture or stand up.

Good posture and positioning is important. It makes you look confident. Slouching, fidgeting or leaning back on your chair do not give a good impression. For presenting virtually, experts recommend a standing desk. You’ll be bigger (in stature), feel more in control, feel more confident and your body language will come more naturally. (Because, yes, we do recognise that sat-down-body-language can feel a bit fake).

4. Don’t be a sitting duck.

Whether you are sitting or standing your movements can contribute to your message. Leaning in adds emphasis (whether you are talking or listening), although a good guide is not to let your face take up more than 30% of the screen. So lean in “a little”.

Using hand gestures is a useful way to support the point that you are making. To make this natural position the camera so that the top half of your body is framed, and not only your head and shoulders. Relax and use your hands sparingly to emphasize your words.

Definitely don’t pop your elbows on the desk and move your hands about. You’ll end up looking like a Thunderbird. I’ve seen this happen, trust me, it’s awful.

Body language overview:

It may take a while for this all to come naturally to you. Don’t stress. Be authentic to yourself.

Do watch the virtual body language of other people and see what works for them… and what doesn’t. And of course video yourself in rehearsal or watch your live presentation back. You will find that you can easily spot your own presentation body language triumphs and wayward moves. Being aware of what you do and what others do is the first step to improving! Never be afraid to make mistakes: you’ll learn better and faster if you do 😊

Enjoy your next presentation experience! Read this related blog on body language.

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