Webcasting Blog

Slide length matters

Forget what you’ve been told ... length DOES matter!

Ok, let’s start by getting our minds out of the gutter and focussing on what this post is really about ... the length of your Webinar Presentation Slides!

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Whether it’s a sales pitch, a brand awareness campaign, an online-training seminar, a quarterly update, or whatever the content or purpose of your webinar, the chances are that at the heart of any presentation is a slide-deck.

The presenter uses their slide deck to lead an audience through the presentation, to keep them engaged, and to tell their story. It’s the crux of the presentation yet all too many people focus on packing in the content, but totally ignores the one simple way we can all improve our webinars ... by reviewing our slide timings! Yes, length really does matter.

I know what you’re thinking; “but why are slide timings so important? Surely it’s all about the content right?” Well, obviously without great content (we’ll talk about that in a future blog) there’s no point to your broadcast, but without getting your timings right, your audience will switch off, glaze over, tune out, or be struggling to catch up.

Let’s be honest, when was the last time you watched one of your own webinar presentations? If you’re like me you avoid it like the plague! We know it takes a special kind of person to not cringe when they hear or see themselves talk, but if you can get over that, you have the key to improving your presentations forever.

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There is no hard and fast rule to slide length, there’s no magic number of minutes and seconds, but there are key considerations you need to address, for each slide you display.

Here are some of the things the timings of your slides can show you, what we like to call our Goldilocks’ Slides

  • For how long is each slide being displayed?
    • Is it too short to add value?
    • Can it be incorporated into the previous, or following, slide?
    • Is it too long to hold attention?
    • Can it be split into two slides? 
  • How many animations and slide-builds does your presentation contain?
    • Remember: It’s ok to have no animations, if they don’t add value to your message, don’t add them to your slide.
    • Does the animation, or slide-build, help hold audience attention?
    • Does it help tell your story? 
  • How much time have you left between animations?
    • Have you packed too many into a short space of time?
    • Do your animations and slide-builds distract the audience?
    • Will your audience be focussing on the animations, and not your content?
  • How much time have you left between your last animation, and the next slide?
    • Each animation should drill-home, or at least support, a key point.
    • Leave enough time for your audience to process that point.
    • If there’s only a few seconds between; can you bring the animation forward or extend the slide?

Get a feel for the rhythm and cadence of your delivery, look at the flow of your presentation, and don’t be afraid to adjust the way you present your content. A good way to start is to look at a successful slide-deck from the past, and note down your timings, see how they compare to your current webinar’s content.

Look at your presentation and ask yourself the 4 questions above, see if anything jumps out at you, or do it in reverse - perhaps you recall a particularly good or bad part of your presentation - find it and look the timings around it. Can you learn anything from the slide timings? Are there any clues as to why that part was particularly good or bad? Getting a handle on your slides in this way allows you to improve your presentations forever. And your audience will thank you for it.

I'm sure you'll want to get the best from your webinars too, so view our very own Webinar Presenter Checklist as a best practice guide.... Or of course, you could always give us a call, or drop us an email, and join the 247 webcasting family, and we’ll advise you on this personally! 

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