Turning PowerPoint Presentation into a Dynamic Training Tool

insert video screenshotSo you’ve toiled and fine-tuned and delivered your PowerPoint presentation dozens of times, until it really sings. The good news is that Mindflash allows you to upload it in a snap, and easily share it with your colleagues or trainees instantly.

But be warned: The more you’ve optimized your slideshow to wow a live audience, the more you’ll want to revise it before posting.

The technology is fully compatible — it’s your audience that has changed. Try to consider how your Mindflash presentation is really being used: Your audience is probably viewing the material alone, possibly working from home. Your laugh lines may not translate without a room full of colleagues, and you won’t be there to fill in the spaces between slides with extra talking points.

It’s not hard to adapt to this new user, but there are some tips that can help. Let’s walk through a checklist of modifications you should at least consider when adapting an existing presentation to be delivered as an online training course. A few things to eliminate:

No more multi-tool

A slide deck with a slide for every possible occasion or audience can be an asset for a sales force on the road that needs to adapt quickly. But when delivering a training lesson to a large audience, you’re a little more bound to your material. Instead, try to identify each segment of your audience, customize a presentation for each, and upload them separately.

Notes must go

For confident speakers, PowerPoint slides are just the bones of a presentation; the meat is in the notes, and delivered verbally. You don’t want to lose that content online, so consider adding narration instead. Record yourself delivering the presentation verbally, splice up those anecdotes and killer stats, and embed them right in a slide.

Out with the gimmicks

PowerPoint is loaded — maybe overloaded — with flashy ways to hold your audience’s attention. But online presentations are up close and personal. Listeners aren’t occasionally looking at you; they’re staring at the slides the entire time, so it pays to be easy on the eyes. Now consider a few things worth inserting:

Mileposts

When you’re delivering a presentation live, you’ll tend to read the body language of your audience for clues: restlessness, confusion, boredom. But the audience is also reading you — shifts in tone signal new ideas, while words like “finally” hint that some sort of break is coming. Consider labeling slides with footers so the viewer knows where they are, or when to take that bathroom break.

Audio/Video

The only thing more boring than a vocal monotone is silence, and boredom lowers comprehension. Record the most critical spoken parts, but make sure you aren’t needlessly duplicating what’s already on the slide unless the emphasis is really necessary. Look on YouTube for video clips; a chorus of voices will help keep people interested. In person, you would naturally sync your oratory with slide animations and transitions, so make sure embedded audio is set up to do the same. (Tip: Set a delay on the audio so the viewer has a few seconds to read the slide before the vocal portion starts.)

Automate the timing elements

A sophisticated presenter creates pacing within slides by using click-activated effects (the simplest example is bullet points that emerge one at a time). You can roughly automate that online by setting delays and synching your text with any audio or video.

Quizzes

The quiz feature in Mindflash is generally used to evaluate learning and material retention, but it can do more. Drop quizzes into transitions between chapters of a presentation. Or insert a quiz at the start of a chapter that asks difficult questions about material the audience has not yet learned. Display the answers right away, reinforcing how they should pay attention to what’s coming. Challenge yourself to use engaging quiz types like sequencing and labeling, rather than relying on true/false or multiple-choice tests.

More about employee training and retention on the Mindflash blog.

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