Average read time: 4 min.

Published on: 19/10/2020

5 online presentation tips for PowerPoint from Office 365

Presentations: love 'em or hate 'em, they sometimes just need to be done. It all used to happen in the meeting room. Now we often give our presentations at home, in front of our camera. Some people see it as an advantage, others perhaps as a disadvantage.  One thing is undeniable: the dynamics are different. Fortunately, Office 365 offers a lot of useful tools to take your presentations to an unprecedented level.  Based on that, we have listed five powerful online presentation tips for you.

Online presentation tip 1: Less is more

It is a universal guideline that applies to any presentation, both in the office and online. In an online presentation, however, it is even more important. After all, you have no physical control over your audience's attention span. You don't know what's going on around them and you don't know if other applications on their computer are demanding attention. Conciseness is therefore essential.

Avoid slides with lots of text. Work with images, but don't overdo it.  The ideal balance is often an image followed by one accompanying sentence or even one word. You do the explaining. The PowerPoint presentation serves as your guide.

Also limit the length of your oral presentation. Have you scheduled an hour-long meeting? Then aim rather for half an hour of speaking time. That leaves room for the usually unavoidable interruptions and especially for questions from participants. The quality of that interaction often determines whether your presentation was a real success.


Online presentation tip 2: Let PowerPoint do the work for you

Microsoft realizes that everyone is different and has specific talents. Preparing and giving presentations is not everyone's favorite activity. That's why you can count on several handy PowerPoint tools.

Want to add visual elements but lack inspiration? Then under the Insert tab, you can choose the Images button for free Stock Images. The Icons button then gives you access to an arsenal of fun drawings, or even people on a transparent background.

To make your slides with text a bit more fun, you can use the Design ideas button under the Designs tab. A few clicks later your slides will look a lot more professional and attractive.

Finally, you can also use the Zoom button under the Insert tab to easily create an overview slide. This will show links to the slides you selected. That way you can easily jump from one part of your presentation to another.


Online presentation tip 3: Be prepared and use PowerPoint's presentation coach

Nervous about giving that presentation? If you work from home, there may be someone present who can serve as a test audience. That kind of rehearsal can work wonders. However, you may be the only person working from home in your family. Fortunately, even then you're not alone, thanks to this online presentation tip:

Use the Presentation Coach in PowerPoint online. It will literally listens to your oral presentation and then gives you a report with the necessary points for improvement. For example, it points out excessive use of blank words and identifies when you are reading off the text that is on your PowerPoint slides. 

The AI-driven application is often even more helpful than colleagues, family or friends because it doesn't mince its words. You get clear feedback on your weaknesses.

Online presentation tip 4: Think beyond your PowerPoint

If you're presenting online, be sure to stop and think about what you'll be showing to reinforce your presentation. Also think out-of-the-box, in this case: outside your PowerPoint presentation. Perhaps there is a website or application that conveys your message more clearly than you could on a PowerPoint slide? It is also possible that someone in your audience refers to an external source during an interaction. Sometimes it is useful to consult it.

Therefore, share your entire desktop instead of just your PowerPoint screen when you present online. This way you can switch flexibly between windows. Remember to turn off applications that may send notifications, or use Focus assist in Windows 10 to hide unnecessary notifications. That way you won't disrupt the flow of your presentation.

Also remember that your webcam plays a role in your presentation. Sometimes sharing both your camera and your screen does not work optimally. That's usually because your network has a lot of data to process and can't keep up, so to speak. Is everything going too slowly? Then just turn off your camera. Do you still need your audience to see you? Then sharing your presentation as a file is a possible alternative. That way you will put less strain on your network.


Online presentation tip 5: interact with your audience

When you do a presentation from home, you don't have direct contact with your audience. And even though you see each other via the webcam, your interaction loses some resolution.

To balance things out, we recommend adding an interactive element to your story every now and then, such as an interesting question. With a simple yes-no question, your audience can even virtually raise their hands (e.g. in Microsoft Teams). You can also add a Form in your PowerPoint presentation and have your audience fill it out live.

Speaking of interaction: PowerPoint Online also has a feature called Live presentations. Your audience then signs up for the presentation thanks to a QR code. They follow the slides via their smartphone or tablet while Microsoft Teams (or another tool) on their PC serves only to see each other. In other words, the focus is even more on human interaction, while the slides mainly provide support. Extra handy is that the Live presentation via the QR code also automatically generates subtitles and offers the possibility for each participant to directly display the translation.

Looking for more online presentation tips or useful Office 365 features?

Through our OASE platform, you and the rest of your organization have unlimited access to how-to videos and other resources.


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