by Adam Noar
It’s the future – the next presentation you’re giving. Your audience is staring at you, eyes glazed over. You’re having trouble holding your notes.
And then you turn to the next slide. It’s…
A dynamic VIDEO inserted into your PowerPoint deck.
Your audience perks up. They recognize the clip, they understand how it relates to your presentation, they laugh. Revived, they turn their attention back to you.
Another day saved.
Presentations may not be that dramatic, but when you’re up there with all eyes focused on you, it can feel like that sometimes! So, you need to have every tool in your toolbelt working towards keeping your audience awake and excited about your presentations.
We’re going to talk about one of those tools today. Videos.
You may be thinking videos are hard to insert (they’re not), not needed (they are), or distracting (the opposite). Let us prove you wrong! In the nicest, most loving way, of course.
How can adding videos to PowerPoint help you? Let’s get into it:
1. Tell a Better Story
Whether you’ve been reading the Presentation Panda blog for a month or a few years, you know that we are all about the importance of storytelling. A good, compelling story keeps your audience present, engaged, and following along with you. If a presentation is muddled and the story isn’t clear, your audience will quickly lose interest.
We always recommend having some kind of “plot” in mind to deliver, the same way a book or a movie would. Are you telling a story of change and renewal? What about growth over time? Or innovation and success? Brainstorm this before you get started creating your presentation, and your audience will find it easy to follow along, because a plot is a concept they’re already familiar with, and it’s likely that they’ll recognize your cues.
However, storytelling isn’t always text! There are a lot of things that can add to your story, including your color theme, your layout, and your choice of images. Another one is video.
Inserting video into your presentation is such a great choice to break up the text and reinvigorate your listeners. People love videos, the new sights and sounds to look at capture people’s attention better than almost anything else.
A great way to use video in this way is to choose a video clip from a recognizable show or movie that illustrates your point. If you’re introducing a concept, is there a scene you can think of that conveys it in an interesting and unique way?
You need to know your audience fairly well to pull this off, but we love a bit of well-placed humor. Picking a popular funny show, anything from Seinfeld to The Office, can be a great way to win people over. A video clip can also be moving and dramatic, creative, anything you can think of! It should add to your story and help complement it without distracting from it. If you choose well, the clip will be extremely memorable, which is exactly what you want.
2. Say More with Less
One of our biggest pet peeves, as you probably know, is cramming WAY too much text on a slide. Slides should have minimal readable information on them. Not only is it visually unappealing, it will distract your audience, and they won’t be able to pay attention to what you’re saying. Think about the last time you tried to hold a conversation and watch a TV show at the same time – how did you do? Probably terribly, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen with your audience. They’re going to be busy trying to read your slides and listen to what you’re saying, and they aren’t going to do a good job at either.
You know what will fix that? Adding VIDEO to your PowerPoint.
You can illustrate a lot of concepts with a video instead of text. It doesn’t even have to be a complicated video, it doesn’t even need audio! Try a simple and short animation in the place of some of your text and see how much better it looks.
Also, keep in mind, this is 2018. There are GIFS (no matter how you pronounce it) that are fun, free, and extremely easy to get. In case you’ve been out of the loop for the past five years or so, GIFS are short, soundless, looping animations that are taken from videos. There are tons out there! Just try searching one of your concepts on a GIF site and see what comes up.
Bonus: because they’re looping and usually fairly simple, your audience won’t be nearly as distracted. It will be able to communicate the idea quickly and easily, and they won’t have their attention off you for long. It’ll also provide non-distracting visual interest, as they’re able to be entertained by your short GIF, but still devote their ears to you. It’s the perfect balance!
3. Get the Sale
Alright, let’s talk business. Some of the most important presentations some of you will give will be trying to convince your audience to buy something from you. Whether it’s new clients, customers, or investors, you’ll need to pull out all the stops on your persuasive skills to get them on board, and you guessed it: video is the way to do that. Apple is well recognized for this.
Studies have consistently shown that people respond much better to videos than static ads like print or banner ads. In fact, people visually “tune out” those banner ads you see on websites across the bottom and sides – they’ve done studies that show that people’s eyes literally avoid those areas. Videos are the new banner ads, and they work so much better.
They catch the audience’s eye, get their attention, and if it’s a good video, keeps their attention. And you know what they say: attention is money these days. You’ll see these video ads everywhere – before TV shows, movies, even YouTube videos (and Hulu if you don’t pay for the premium service). So many apps are built on the premise that they are free if you watch video ads intermittently, because companies know that they work. And this will work the same way on y our audience.
Think about how much of an impact a video about your concept will make on your clients. They likely haven’t seen much of that in a presentation before, so it will be highly impactful and memorable. It doesn’t have to be fancy either! There are tons of different software available to make a great video.
This will catch your audience’s attention and keep them interested in what you’re trying to sell. It will make a great visual impact on them, and in a way, it will convey that you are on par with other companies who utilize video ads to market to their customers. It’s the modern way for marketers to reach their customers, and now you can use it too!
4. Create a Mood
Set the mood for your audience! Ditch the cheesy images and go for something more exciting – any guesses what it is? Anyone? Yeah, it’s video. Anyway, moving on.
Inserting video into your ppt deck is the perfect way to set the mood for the audience. There are so many to choose from you can decide exactly how you want your presentation to make your audience feel – is it funny? Serious? Emotional? Inspirational? Up to you! Liven up your presentation with a video that gets the point across.
Another mood-setting idea: how about a motion background? Instead of a static image behind your text, opt for a moving background. This will also set the mood, but in a much more subtle way. It will also be extremely visually interesting, and likely one of the first times they’ve seen something like that.
Unsubtle-plug: the template that I created, The Influencer, comes with Parallax scrolling, which is a type of moving background. It’s an effect that’s created during the transition from slide to slide, where the text moves more slowly than the background, making it a sort of 3-D effect. If you think that sounds like the coolest thing you’ve ever heard in your life (I’m both flattered and sorry), check it out.
The important thing is to make sure that the background isn’t too overwhelming or complicated. Something complicated will just distract from the text and potentially make it unreadable, just like a complex image would. Instead, make sure the background has balance, and preferably some white space that your text can overlay and still be easily readable. Play around with it and see if you can find something you really like. It’s a very creative way to add to the mood and visual interest of a slide without shoving it in their face.
5. Keep it Interesting
In today’s fast-paced world, you need to keep your audience engaged, and variety is the way to do that. Change it up! Make sure you have a lot of different things in your presentation – vary the slide layouts, images, and of course, throw in some videos and animations. We’ve got a short attention span these days, so you have to keep in entertaining.
One great way to do this is to take a look at where the densest parts of your presentation are. Is there a really complex concept that you’re explaining? Any parts that are a bit text-heavy but you didn’t think you could avoid it? Try throwing in a video to break it up, it will give your audience a chance to breathe and reset a bit, before moving on. The video can still be related to the concept you’re trying to get across, but it just provides something different for your audience to rest their eyes on for a minute.
Funny enough, just powering through it can make your audience remember it a lot worse. Remember the worst lectures you’ve sat through, where the professor is just droning on for two hours. How much did you remember from class? Probably not a lot. Contrast that with the best lectures you’ve had – they were probably entertaining and kept the class interesting with slides, videos, probably some class discussion – the variety is what kept you engaged and still learning and taking things in. Apply this same concept to your presentation. Just because we’re out of college doesn’t mean we can’t use those lessons.
Another thing you can do is follow up those spots with a video that reinforces, summarizes, or emphasizes the point you’re trying to make. Think about the most important points of an idea you’re trying to get across, and find/create a video that has just those points. By showing that video after the section, it will help your audience anchor that idea to the video. This way, they’ll remember it a lot better afterwards, and be able to recall it much easier. If it works, try something funny and relevant to pop-culture, because not only are they popular and recognizable, if your audience has already seen it, it will help it be an even stronger anchor.
Bonus: Explain a Difficult Concept
You have a crucial concept that you have to get across to your audience. You’re struggling trying to convey it in a simple slide or two – you’re finding yourself either trying to cram too much text onto the slide, or it will take quite a few slides to get through. It’s worth considering: will a video inserted into the PowerPoint slide work?
This could be something that already exists, or something that you create. If it’s the type of thing that’s been done in popular culture, this is a great fit. If not, consider creating your own video to explain it. Either way it will complement your presentation and keep you from bogging it down with too much text-heavy explaining.
By using video in your presentations, you’ll make a huge impact on your audience. It’s likely that they haven’t seen a lot of well-done presentations that utilize videos, animations, or GIFS, so you’ll be memorable. They’ll also thank you for the lack of bullet points because you included something way more fun. In the end, using video in a smart way can make all the difference.
What do you think? Do you use videos or GIFS in your presentations? How did it work out? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!