Complete sentences instead of keywords, one minute per slide and not too many company logos – webinar expert Katja Königstein gives tips for online presentations. […]
If you listen to a speaker together with other listeners, you only pay seven percent of your attention to the content. A total of 93 percent requires non-verbal communication. At least that’s what Katja Königstein, a webinar expert and consultant, claims. She has written the white paper “The Small Big Difference” for the solution provider Citrix, in which she sets out “the 10 commandments for successful online presentations”.
This is logically different for online presentations. Here the main focus is on the slides, says Königstein. The three most important aspects are therefore the careful handling of the text, the targeted use of images and the meaningful use of interaction. Königstein derives the following ten pieces of advice from this:
1. One picture and eight words: When people see a written text, they read it to themselves in silence. Therefore, slide texts should only contain about six to eight words. A person can read this in about two seconds. Königstein advises combining the short text with an image.
2. A slide, a message: The users of an online presentation can read faster than a speaker speaks. As a result, those who list five points on a slide are still talking about the first one, while the audience is already reading the others and no longer listening. Therefore, each slide should contain only one core message.
3. Writing in whole sentences: Keywords have no meaning, explains webinar expert Königstein. She advises writing whole sentences on slides. Words with the shortest possible syllables should be used, because they are easier to read.
4. Using animations correctly: Animations require that users have a high-quality Internet connection. You can’t necessarily assume that – anyone who presents online can therefore never know whether graphics and images have already built up with everyone. Alternative: Use a separate slide for each step of the animation.
5. Omit “disturbing images”: Company logo, lecture titles and other decorations do not have to appear on every slide. They distract the user. Königstein compares this with an improperly tuned radio station, where noise distracts from the content. Your tip: The company logo, the name of the speaker and the title and date of the lecture should only be on the first and last slide. “The slide number alone makes sense, so that it is easier to refer to in case of queries,” she says.
6. Assign three functions to images: If you only want to use pictures to beautify your graphics, you should rather leave that alone – the pictures then only rob attention. Each image and graphic must fulfill one of the following three functions: as an unexpected or curious magnet that brings drifting listeners back to the presentation, as an anchor of memory (images with clear symbolic power are suitable for this) or as a knowledge activator. This refers to images that illustrate existing prior knowledge.
7. One minute of speaking time per slide: Just do not be afraid of “foil battles”. Information should be served “in small, easily digestible bites,” says Königstein. She calculates with one minute of speaking time per slide.
8. Involve the audience: People are more involved when they are actively doing something themselves. For example, a short survey among the participants of the presentation, a quiz or something similar is suitable for this. If there is no clue for this, banalities about the weather or the place of residence of the speaker are also suitable. “This takes away the anonymity of your online meeting or webinar and usually leads to a pleasant atmosphere in which you can relax and listen,” says Königstein.
9. Using hierarchical layouts: As a report has greased headings and smaller intertitles, the slides of an online webinar should be hierarchically designed. Different colors and font sizes make orientation easier for users.
10. Slides should reinforce the message: The slides in an online presentation serve neither as a thought support for the speaker nor as a hand-out for the participants. They serve only one purpose: to reinforce the speaker’s message.
*Christiane Pütter is a journalist from Munich. She writes about IT, business and science. In addition to CIO and Computerwoche, her clients include several corporate publishing magazines, especially in the field of banking/insurance.