I wanted to understand how many of you were suffering from endless PowerPoint presentations every day! As economies slowly open back up and we move into the new normal, of hybrid meetings and more remote presentations, what is the true toll of ‘death by PowerPoint’?
It turns out that Microsoft cited a number, 30 million PowerPoint presentations per day, in 2003. This is before COVID and SARS, before Zoom, before VOIP and before everything we take for granted today. So, what is the true number today?
Most articles about remote meetings talk about lighting and cameras, and I wont harp on that as these subjects as they have been beaten to death already. I want to talk about the things that no one else is thinking about and some of my learning from years of watching people present using existing video conferencing tools.
The importance of presence during an online meeting
Yes, you must portray a good image during any online presentation. Human brains are wired to respond to faces and people – not PowerPoint decks. If you want to build any trust and make your customers gain confidence, this is essential. A good light and a decent camera is a low bar now.
But not a lot of people are talking about how video conferencing apps minimize your presence and prioritize your screen sharing data. Most video conference apps minimize your audience to the size of a tiny postage stamp in the corner of your screen and reduce your image on your audiences’ screens as well. That means that neither of you can maintain eye contact anymore! This dramatically reduces the effectiveness of any virtual meeting regardless of the remote meeting tool that you are using.
You, and your audience, are in each other’s blind spot! This is not good if you are trying to build trust, create memories and ultimately close a deal!
Leverage a secondary monitor in your screen sharing session
There is a simple, and cost effective, solution. Not a lot of people realize that they can leverage a secondary monitor and create a much better remote experience. Did you know that all remote conferencing apps allow you to use a secondary monitor? In this situation you put your content onto the primary laptop screen and use the secondary monitor as the audience monitor.
This mimics the natural way we work when you are face to face. You are sitting across the virtual table and working on your laptop. You can glance up and easily see the other members ‘across the table’. And if you pin your camera using Reactiv SUITE, you will also allow them to see you easily – together with your content. It creates a powerful remote meeting experience using hardware that you already have lying around
Leverage an Interactive Whiteboard for the next level experience
If you are like me, you can’t match the energy of standing up in front of your audience and giving that presentation. I personally love to interact with my audience, standing in the front of a boardroom. It allows me to express myself using body language and people give their attention more easily when you are standing.
This is also not very difficult to accomplish, even in your home office. Simply get an interactive whiteboard or a touch screen monitor connected to your laptop. Then your laptop can serve as an audience monitor in front of you. In this scenario you can stand and use the interactive whiteboard and invite your audience to your virtual home boardroom any time you want.
Reactiv SUITE to power your online meetings
Reactiv SUITE is designed to solve the problem of low engagement in meetings. Pin your camera and elevate your presence. Put your audience on a secondary monitor and elevate their presence. Show content and manipulate multimedia files as easily as if they were paper. Write, ink, highlight, underline and markup documents to focus your audience’s attention.
Deliver impactful presentations that create long lasting memories and build trust.
Discover how Reactiv SUITE can help make your meetings memorable with a free trial!
How Many Online Meetings Per Day?
I took an analytical approach to figuring this out as there is very little data on the Internet. We all know that the population of the United States is around 350 million people. But there are a lot of people who don’t work jobs where they are stuck in endless remote meetings. Then I decided to focus on just the information technology and tech sectors. There are roughly 12.5 million people working in this sector in 2021. These individuals do spend endless hours in remote meetings watching and presenting. My own research has shown that the average professional has at least five meetings a day. This results in over 60 million remote meetings using PowerPoint a day in the US alone. If you extrapolate this to the EU and Asia, assuming similar statistics and demographic profiles, we can argue that there are 200 – 400 million online and hybrid meetings today that use PowerPoint.
How Effective Are These Meetings?
Why are we all so disengaged? Is PowerPoint helping or are we using it as a crutch?
I found some fantastic research that articulates the problem:
- 90% of people believe that a strong narrative in a presentation is critical for engagement
- 55% of people say a great story is primarily what holds their focus during a presentation
- 46% of presenters feel that the hardest part of creating a successful presentation is crafting a compelling story
Storytelling is important in presentations—but it’s also difficult. Many presenters find it hard to come up with a narrative that works both for their data and for their audience. Most of us leverage the content that our marketing teams give us, and usually this is a linear PowerPoint presentation. A lot of people ask me how they can transform meetings and remote sales presentations using the tools that they have as we are not all born storytellers.
Storytelling is Not Hard with The Right Tool
The trick I discovered is to tell a story using your existing content, where nothing has to be changed. We, and our marketing teams, did invest a lot of time and effort in creating amazing visuals and PowerPoint slides. So, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water, lets reimagine our presentations so we can take it to the next level without a lot of effort.
According to research, effective presentations engage the audience using different elements:
- 38% of your audience engagement is driven by your voice and how confident and authoritative you are
- 55% of your audience engagement is driven by your body language, facial expressions, and other non-verbal communication cues
- Only 7% of your audience is interested and engaged by the content itself
Your Presence in an Online Meeting is Key
This is critical. You cannot be reduced to the size of a small postage stamp in the corner. You need to be as prominent and clear as your content. You need a decent camera, proper lighting and dynamically control the size and position of your image with the content during your remote presentation.
You Must be Non-Linear
Use PowerPoint for its intended function – as a visual aid. The slide deck does not have to contain every bit of information crammed into dozens of slides. It can be used as a generic roadmap for the conversation and as a trigger to pull up additional information as needed. Engage the audience and see what they would like to discuss, bring in dynamic content such as websites and videos when required, compare, and contrast different ideas based on the direction of the conversation. Have conversations!