Keep in mind that in an in-person presentation, your slides are just visual aids. You are the main visual, and then there's the room, the whiteboard, flip chart sheets on the walls, audience members interacting with you, and so on. These are all part of the visuals in your presentation.
But in a webinar, your slides are not visual aids; they are the visuals. So you need to do more with them to engage your audience.
Here are five ways to create stunning slides for your next webinar.
1. More slides
Use more slides than you would in an in-person presentation, so your audience sees the screen changing often. Otherwise it's just too easy for them to ignore the screen and start checking e-mail or doing other work while listening to your webinar in the background. They think they can multi-task, but it's just not as effective.
2. Make your slides more visual
No more boring bullet lists! Your slides should be visual, not just a bunch of words.
This applies to all presentations, but especially to webinars, where again you need to keep your audience's attention on the screen.
3. "Build" complex slides
If a slide contains a lot of information, build it up step by step, talking through each step as you do so.
In the old days of overhead projectors and bullet lists, this is like covering up the slide with a bit of paper and then revealing each bullet point as you're speaking about it. We don't use overhead projectors and I've just told you not to use bullet lists - but the same principle applies. Look at the information on your slide and decide whether you can build up the slide piece by piece. It's easier for your audience to follow, and keeps them engaged while you go through your explanation.
4. Make them load faster
Slides with large pictures take longer to transmit over the Internet, so some of your audience might see them loading in a slow, jerky way. So as much as you want to make your slides visual, you don't want to fill them with big photos either. For slides that need pictures, use smaller pictures.
5. Design them faster
Finally, you need a system to build your slide decks fast; otherwise it's just too tempting to just slap something together with a bunch of bullet lists.
Subscribe to a stock photo library service like istock.com so you can find good pictures quickly. There are free services as well, but the paid services generally have better photos and better search facilities.
Also learn how to use PowerPoint's "Smart Art" feature, which turns bullet lists into visually appealing diagrams. If you haven't ever used this, try it - it's like magic!
Gihan Perera CSP