3 reasons PowerPoint animations may suck in your webinar (and what to do about it)
Sometimes PowerPoint animations and webinars aren’t happy couples.
Note that not every one of the points below is true for every web conferencing/webcasting platform. Heck, there are still platforms that don’t support PowerPoint animations, while others do beautifully. BUT…even those who do sometimes experience challenges.
Here are (some) reasons why animation in PowerPoint may not be your best approach…and how to accomplish getting and keeping attention alternatively.
Why PowerPoint animations may not work well
They may appear jumpy
There are two primary reasons. One, there’s this great unknown between you and your webinar/webcast attendees is the internet. Everything may look great on your end, and through no fault of yours or your conferencing/casting service provider the animation experience is sub-par on the receiving end.
Two, your attendee could be on an old computer or have too little RAM or too many applications open or all of the above. Again, not in your control.
Your webinar solution may change the meaning of click
We get that when we’re advancing a presentation that a click is “the next thing,” whether that’s the next slide or the next part of what you’re building on the slide.
The challenge with some platforms is what happens when you want to go back. Does this go back a whole slide or just to the previous iteration of what was building on a slide. More importantly, is this consistent with what PowerPoint does (the latest version goes back to the previous click)?
Animations may take you more time than they’re worth
For many (or most) people, however, they add a lot of time to the design process.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some times when an animation is the right tool for the communication (e.g., communicating relationship or directionality). And you’ve heard me argue that I think people are “consuming” webinar/webcasts more like television than in-person presentations (and therefore it’s worth keeping things changing visually more frequently than you would in a face-to-face presentation).
The challenge is that even if you spend a lot of time in PowerPoint, it can take considerable time to figure out what comes in, what goes out, what moves where – all the things you can do with animations.
Here’s what to do
Determine what must be accomplished with animations
To be fair, some communications are best expressed with animation. Directionality. Relationship. There are no doubt more (please comment!).
True enough, movement and action get attention. The problem is that a half a billion other PowerPoint users have access to the same tools, and sooner or later (sooner!) your animation will look like that ’80s synth-pop band sounds…dated and predictable.
Use multiple slides to accomplish the same effect
It’s not the number of slides that determine the duration of your prevention…it’s the amount of content you cover. Instead of spending three minutes on one slide, try three slides where you spend one minute each. In other words, divorce the “slide” from the idea of “equals a duration of time.”
Of course, this means people choke when they realize how many slides your presentation has, which leads to…
Use a handout to summarize key your key points
The number of slides you use does not determine how long your presentation is (you could talk to three slides for an hour, right?). It’s the amount of detail you go into (content) plus the amount of time you spend interacting that equals duration.
What’s the number one FAQ in a webinar? “Can I have a copy of your slides?”
Do your audience (and yourself) a favor…make great, visually appealing slides that complement your verbal delivery, and create a handout that summarizes the key points you make.
What’s your experience been? Animations…love ’em or hate ’em?