Slides you use live are different from sides you use online. Live, your audience has you and your glorious personality to keep them engaged – that's not always true online.
There are a number of fairly simple rules that will help you, though, so don't panic. All you need to do is stick to them and you're be fine. The even better news is that the rules are pretty clear, without much fuzz around the edges.
Text vs images
On 'live screen' (that is, when you're in the room with your audience) slides with single (but powerful!) images can be remarkably powerful. In fact, they're far, far better than slides full of text for a whole bunch of reasons. (If you want to know more about live presentation training, see here!). When you're appearing curtesy of someone's browser on a phone or a computer, however, a single image that stays there while you talk just won't cut it.
Consider adding a bit of text – not too much, though. You don't want to overwhelm people.
A simple rule is to have enough text on the screen to make a newspaper headline. Think more like The Daily Mail than The Sun (have a bit of class!) 😉 (Please don't infer anything about my personal politics from those examples!)
The idea is that your audience can get the Big Idea of your slide in one go. It gets them interested and makes them pay attention. At that point it's up to you to provide the details they (now!) want. A typical pattern would be to have a headline that makes a promise or asks a question – something your audience wants to stop or to make happy – and then your voice-over, commentary or talking head (take your pick!) provides the solutions to that pain.
Live presentations have a cunning and secret weapon – you. Your personality can shine through much more easily when you're live than when you're on a computer screen. That means that when you're live, you can have longer periods of time when "nothing happens". What I mean by that is that your slides can sometimes not change for several minutes: it might be that you just stick with one slide while you tell a story, for example. In fact it's not uncommon for professional presenters to deliberately have black slides so that the audience has to concentrate on them!
Imagine that for an online presentation!
With nothing to look at for minutes at a time, audiences get bored and drift off.
That means you need to have something happen on your slides much, much more often than you need to when you're live.
Here's a dirty trick – think of making something happen on your slide sufficiently often to mean that, if someone watching your online slide presentation wanted to just put you onto another tab of their browser and do their emails (let's pretend I've never done this!) and just have you on in the background, they couldn't.
Phrases like "as you can see" mean that people have to keep coming back to your presentation.
And doing that sufficiently frequently so that they can't get any work done on the other tabs is pretty much the ideal.
Of course, one way around all of this is to include yourself on the slides. That way your audience gets a bit more life, energy and movement – not to mention a lot more of your personality. I'm talking here as including yourself as a 'talking head' or 'picture in picture'. Take a moment to consider these two examples: which is more likely to keep your attention if the slide is up for a little while?
|This screenshot is taken from another of our courses, on productivity and managing your time. Great content, but looks a bit boring…
||Now here's a snapshot of the same video, reshot to include a Picture-in-Picture of the trainer. It's not a great shot, but it does the job of making the thing a bit more interesting, lively and person-connected. The fact that it's just a quick grab of the office, even without tidying it up or setting up anything special shows just how easy it can be to do this!
If you're not convinced, go back to the last lesson and watch all of Pat Flynn's video. How much more interesting would it have been if Pat's head had been in the videos, so that you could watch his face for those slides when nothing much was happening?
The good news is that it's not as difficult as it sounds, technically.
If you're using a Mac computer, I recommend using Ecamm software. (Note, this is an affiliate link and I get a bit of money if you buy from them using that link.) Ecamm is the software I use for my online lives and so on: I recommend it because I like it, not because I get paid for it 🙂
If you're using a Windows machine, have a look at XXX.