In this article, I’m going to go through how to design the perfect webinar slides.
With today’s technology, almost anything can be done over the Internet. Shopping now has a niche catered to both those who can’t find what they want to buy locally and those who have no time to go to a mall and look around. Online banking is taking your transactions to a whole new level with its speedy and hassle-free processes. Even booking your favorite restaurants and hotels are now easier with just a few clicks.
Since all these everyday tasks can now be done online, what about teaching and public speaking? Video conferencing has long existed, and it paved the way for global businesses to communicate more easily with each other and transact and even forge partnerships. Why put to waste that piece of wonderful technology, though? Pretty soon, somebody will come up with the idea of hosting a seminar online…
Lo and behold the webinar!
“Web” and “seminar” combined together, webinars liberate presenters and attendees from the hassle of manual preparations; with just a date and time, a good Internet connection, and a few pieces of sound-enhancing equipment, anyone can preside an online seminar.
Okay, not literally anyone. For one, they have to know the basics of public speaking. Second, they need to have knowledge on making great presentations. It’s like a public presentation but not quite so. PowerPoint experts will point out that design is crucial, but there’s more to it when it comes to webinars.
Webinar Slide Design Tips
1. The Basics
When creating your slides, one major thing to remember is that unlike face-to-face talks where your PowerPoint file is preloaded and just waiting for a click, everything you do, show, and say is dictated by your Internet speed. So, exercise control on what you put on your slides.
Simplicity is always the choice if you don’t want every slide taking a few seconds to load and your attendees getting annoyed by the second. A simple background will suffice. One color is more than enough; even when it comes to texture and graphics, think very long and very hard whether you need them. If you can pull it off, even a white background will be great for framing your content.
On the foreground, too many transition effects will be, like any normal public talk, distracting and off-putting for your audience—how much more when you factor in the fact that animations also rely on a good connection?
The bottom line here is that if you don’t need it—or will just use it for gimmick—then don’t put it in. Keep your slides as simple as possible, mainly because you’d definitely want a seamless presentation.
Incorporating pictures into your slides will be tricky. On one hand, you know you will need images for driving home points and relaying your message faster; on the other, they will most certainly be bigger in size than the background you’re using, even when reducing their actual dimensions in your slides.
Don’t downplay the importance of images, though. You know how powerful they can be. So how do you manifest that? As counterintuitive and counterproductive as it may seem, use more slides (if you have to). Having one image per slide will have minimal effect on the loading times of your webinar (provided it’s small enough).
Having an audience up close also helps since you’re not that worried about making sure your slide is readable—and/or seen—even to those at the back of the room; instead, your attendees are on their seats and close to their monitors.
In line with the point above, there shouldn’t be that much text. Similar to a normal PowerPoint presentation, text should be kept to a minimum. Have only one point per slide; if you’ve got more than a handful of points, then keep adding slides. Take care and make sure you’re not adding too much though. There is such a thing as death by PowerPoint because of too many one-liner slides.
Far too often, you hear about presenters who put walls of text on one slide, only to be followed by another. If you do that during a webinar, then your attendees won’t be listening as you speak.
Lastly, avoid reading off your slides. Your presentation should not be your crutch. You’re not there to make your attendees listen as you read words they can read on their own. Instead, put your point on the slide and explain from there.
Text and images are powerful tools when you’re in a face-to-face presentation, but webinars put a limit on anything you can do (especially when you’re doubting your own connectivity). The best you can do is control how much goes into your slides.
4. Go for the Visual
Webinars can be a tricky place to show one’s hand and trick out your deck. As if the point hasn’t been repeated enough, let’s say it here again: your and your attendees’ Internet connections are the enemies here, not stage jitters and definitely not fear. So, make sure that limitation doesn’t compromise your online seminar—and dampen your message.
Incorporating visual elements arrests attention, a luxury when it comes to the Internet. But too much will slow down and delay the whole webinar. Strike the balance. Just because you can’t see your audience eye to eye doesn’t mean you can’t wow the same way you do during a face-to-face presentation.