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Today giving a presentation can be challenging. Not only are you trying to communicate something of value, but you are also fighting against the constant distraction of our “always online” culture. Attention is more scarce than ever and presenting effectively can be a challenge.
With the rise of digital video over the last decade and simplicity of making and publishing video content, weaving video into business or PowerPoint presentations provides a great option for anyone wanting to deliver the most proficient presentation possible.
But it’s not always as simple as throwing together a flashy video and calling it a day.
If you’re creating a video from scratch to explain a product or concept, it may be tempting to dive right into producing. However, it’s always best to stop and think about what you need to produce first.
What’s the point of the piece? Is it to inform? Inspire? Challenge? Think about what an audience would find engaging, but also consider what inspires you. Bounce ideas off friends and family, and ask for honest feedback. Look at the repertoire of video content you can use. Jot down thoughts as they come to you, even if it’s in a bedside notebook or on a napkin during lunch—any ideas that could work toward making your video fresh and exciting.
If you decide to produce a full video, we have quite a few resources to help you. We suggest you start with a rough script or outline anticipating the ideas you want your video to promote. You don’t need to pretend you’re Steven Spielberg, but setting up a simple framework for your video from the very start will help things run more smoothly down the road.
If the whole point of a video is to complement your ideas, make sure your video isn’t needlessly rehashing everything you’re already going to say in your presentation. Run it by someone you trust if you think you can’t develop an objective opinion on your own.
Are parts of your video redundant? Identify those parts and cut them out. Does your video produce an emotional impact? If not, do everything in your power to make it more grounded and relatable for your audience. Is a video even necessary at all for conveying your ideas? This sounds tough, but don’t be opposed to axing the video altogether. Otherwise, go back to the first step and brainstorm ways to overhaul it for your business presentation.
The bottom line is that you should never make a video just to make a video. Audiences aren’t stupid, so don’t waste their time with something pointless.
In the end it’s you who the attendees are there to see, not your video. Your audience is there to hear your unique ideas. If you rely on a video to transmit all your ideas for you, the audience will get the impression that you don’t care enough to prepare for the presentation.
Also, letting your video do all the work for you may come across as lazy on your part. Or, it may hint that you lack confidence to actually get up and give full presentation. Unless you’ve already discussed your desire to use video with the host ahead of time, you should avoid any videos longer than five minutes unless you feel it is incredibly important for the audience to see. And while it may be appealing to just hit the play button and relax, remember you’re not there to just be another audience member. Your video should complement your presentation. Don’t let it be your presentation.
If a video is a good idea for your presentation, you need to make sure that you can actually use the video. And we’re talking about obvious things, like making sure the venue you’ll be presenting at has speakers so the audience can actually hear your video, or that there’s some sort of screen or projection device on which to display it. Most venues will provide some level of projection equipment if you ask in advance, so make sure you ask!
Also take into consideration the various video file types and sizes. Make sure the computer you’ll be using can open the type of files you bring. And while you’re at it, be sure to figure out if the venue prefers you to load your video file via flash drive, email, or some other way. If you are using Dropbox, do you know if the event has WiFi? Is it fast enough to download the video ahead of your presentation? You don’t want to looking foolish because your file won’t play properly.
Finally, it’s usually a good idea to bring your own computer and adapters – just in case. Chances are they’ll let you know beforehand if they have a computer available for you, but it is embarrassing to show up without any means to play the video you just spent so much energy creating. To avoid that risk, bring your own laptop with you.
As we already stated, there is nothing more embarrassing than your video refusing to play. The solution for avoiding this problem is simple: test it. The venue may say that their equipment can play the video, but you always want to test just before you give your presentation – just in case.
Before you get on stage, test for utility by making sure the video works. Make sure the file didn’t become corrupted somewhere along the way and can open without a hitch. And of course, make sure the video plays when you press play, and pauses when you press pause. Does the audio sound clear? Is playback choppy and distracting or smooth like it’s supposed to be? Sometimes venues have older versions of PowerPoint that won’t open files properly, so always check to ensure the software and hardware works with your video.
These simple measures can potentially save your business presentation from disaster.
Video is a powerful medium for conveying ideas. And implementing video in your presentations can be a great opportunity for you to share powerful ideas effectively. But video brings its own set of challenges, most of which are easy to overcome so long as you think ahead.
So remember to brainstorm, cut out excessive points, and make sure you have the correct hardware in place to share your presentation with your audience.
Now, go break a leg!