Visual presentation has moved a long way from flip charts and OHPs. PowerPoint, DVD, Flash and Mpeg video are now commonplace, their correct use, unfortunately, is not.
Ten Things You Should Do
- Discuss, plan, test, budget and brief. Discuss the objective, audience, message and required outcomes with colleagues before preparing a budget and brief.
- Show reels. Ask for show reels to see what production companies have done before and select two or three who have the skills and experience to answer your brief. Companies may place edited snipets of their show reels online but this is not the same as seeing the finished package!
- Attention span. Most people cannot take in a full 30-minute promo. Consider 10 to 20 minutes as the maximum attention span. Keep key points to the early part of the presentation as attention falls rapidly after the first 15 minutes.
- Old technology. Flip charts and OHPs still have their place – especially with small group discussion and in brainstorming. Sometimes ‘low-tech’ allows a more free form approach without the rigidity more complex technologies can impose.
- Future proof where possible. Avoid using dates, prices, trendily dressed presenters or other elements that could date the production quickly.
- Delivery technology. Use a delivery technology that your audience can access. USB pen drives, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM may be the ideal business medium, but beware that some companies actively disable them on workstations for security reasons. The same is true of onlne technologies such as Dropbox and YouTube. Find out what is most appropriate for your target audience.
- Multimedia usage. To expose the message to the largest audience consider multimedia usage such as video, video clips within PowerPoint, web usage, business TV applications and so on.
- Consider context. How will the AV fit with print, web, and advertising? Ensure production values, corporate design standards and messages are consistent.
- Production values. Professional and good scripting, photography, graphics and editing will reflect well on you. Be ruthless and avoid using poor quality materials in your presentation.
- Keep your options open. Review and revise your AV periodically including the delivery channels to reflect audience needs and the available technology.
Five Things You Should Not Do
- Don’t let anyone tell you the medium is the message. What you say is more important than the way you say it.
- Don’t fall in love with the latest technology. Using the latest cutting edge delivery technology cannot convey how advanced and forward thinking you are if most of your audience does not yet have access to such technology.
- Don’t rush into production. Take some time to think about the objective, message, audience and media. Only then can you script, shoot, edit and print.
- Don’t be too clever. The production company may be very excited about the latest sound and visual effects. Think carefully how this will be received by your audience and how quickly it may date the presentation.
- Don’t keep a promo after its sell by date. One company had a 30 minute promo with Bill Owen playing a senior fire officer giving serious advice to a director on fire prevention matters. This had little credibility once Bill ‘retired’ and became Compo. (For those who don’t know, Bill Owen was a UK actor who became more well known for playing the well liked comical and scruffy character called Compo in a TV situation comedy)