The virtual speaker’s assistant can help the speaker make the speaking presentation (and later virtual presentations) come alive with visuals. Visuals help the audience retain information and also help speakers stay on track with their content.
It would behoove the VSA to learn PowerPoint on an advanced level. This would really enhance your value to your speakers. Advanced PowerPoint users know how to make sophisticated transitions between slides, add in audio or video clips and music. If you don’t want to do webinars or sophisticated ones yourself, consider partnering with another VA who specializes in doing webinars and learn more about how to do it before you take this on solo.
Too many PowerPoint presentations overshadow the speaker. PowerPoints should enhance the presentation and the words of the speaker should stay at the forefront.
If you as the VSA will be doing the entire PowerPoint here are some things you will want to ask the speaker as you begin:
- Is there a theme or a frame that you know you want to use, or do you want me to find a theme or a frame to be the graphic design that holds the content?
- What points do you want to highlight? Do you have an outline for the speech?
- Do you want to use art – photos, cartoons, other visuals?
- What process visuals do you want to use?
The good news is is there are many industry-specific PowerPoint templates to choose from if you choose to use one. Google also has PowerPoint templates.
A common mistake that speakers make, especially technical speakers, is to put too much information on a single slide. The audience will get bored quickly with a single slide staying up for several minutes as the speaker speaks. A slide should be shown for no more than 30 seconds to a minute.
Here are some final things to keep in mind to have the most readable PowerPoint:
- Use an outline format for each slide
- Do not use more than 6 lines of text or 6 words per line on each slide (as a general rule)
- Use 32 to 40 point type for headings
- Use a Sans Serif type like Arial for the text and in 24-32 point
- Never use all caps – it is like shouting at the audience
It is important to put together an early draft and then give it to the speaker for his or her approval. Work back and forth to get it completed.
Art and Process Visuals
Speakers often want to use something visual that drives their point home. Photos, bar graphs, cartoons and photos are the most common types of graphics. Process visuals are models or charts that many speakers like to use because they have developed these from their own proprietary intellectual property. Speakers have to be careful with these because if they are too complex they can lose the audience.
Allan Wise’s book – The Big Book of Process Visuals is expensive at $125, but it gives you full permission to use any of the process visuals in the book and they are a great way for a VSA as well as the speaker to start to create process visuals.
If the speaker wants photos, the VSA can take a list of what the speaker wants to illustrate and use Google to find royalty-free photos or photos that can be purchased for minimal cost.
Another thing speakers use some of, especially humorous speakers, are cartoons. Cartoons are a great way to drive a point home. You can also have an illustrator do custom cartoons and at a reasonable fee. It is great branding to have custom cartoons that can be used over and over. Check with the speaker to see if he or she wants to create an art budget for all these things. When you work with an illustrator, make sure the contract specifies that this is a “work for hire” and that the speaker owns the final product.
Sometimes the speaker has standard slides for PowerPoint that can be used over and over, but then sometimes the speaker wants to shorten or lengthen the presentation, so the VSA should make sure and check in on timing. It is critical that the speaker not be surprised at what order the slides are in or anything else when they get on stage and start to move the slides! It is important, if possible for the speaker to be able to go through the slides ahead of time to just make sure everything is there and in the right order. It is also vital that when using slides over and over that you make sure and get the name of the group right on the opening slides and that the end slide has the right URLs or wherever the speaker wants to send this particular group. Sometimes you want them to sign up for the mailing list or buy a product and this should be clear on the final slide.
Finally, because you want to be completely prepared, supply the speaker with a Flash or Thumb drive with the presentation so no matter what happens, the speaker will be prepared.
Using Live Web Pages in Presentations
If a presenter is showing a video as part of a presentation or wanting to show a live web page, it is possible to do that through streaming video.
A presenter can do that off-line by caching (saving) and synchronizing web pages, but if he or she really wants to have web pages in real time there are some services that make that possible.
Locations where speakers regularly speak, like The Learning Annex use UStream to show their presentations in real time to people who can’t be at the event.
Webinars are seminars that take place virtually on the Web. They have both a visual and an audio component. The audio is generally over the telephone or through the Internet. The visual is through the Internet and may include the ability to see the speaker talking or watching slides of the material as the speaker narrates.
You will want to prepare at least a month before the webinar so there is adequate time to create and market the webinar.
Here is a list of items to consider and prepare:
- Set date for webinar
- Prepare a web page with information and event registration. The page should include the agenda, timetable and speaker bio(s).
- Set policy for refunds, early registration, and pricing
- Prepare PowerPoints or other visuals
- Have speaker write script in PowerPoint Notes
The week before the event: Send the webinar access instructions to registrants (and presenters if other than the speaker). Encourage presenters to use a landline for clearest recording. Put PowerPoints or other visuals into webinar service and check each slide to make sure everything shows correctly.
Two days before the event: Send out a reminder, including the webinar access instructions.
The day of the event: Be available and present for the event to handle questions and logistics, especially recording the event.
After the event: Do a post-event survey with a special offer. Send a thank you to any presenters.
There are many services to help you present and market webinars, some no cost, others low cost and a number at $40 a month or more.
You might help your speaker with a low cost webinar service to get started. This service give you your own telephone number and access code and you can present webinars any time. You upload a PowerPoint presentation and then at the time of the webinar, the speaker (or you) can click a button to go to the next slide as the author presents the material. You can also record the audio through this service for use later.
Another great service at a higher cost is www.InstantTeleseminar.com. At $67 a month, there are local numbers for International callers and the ability to record both the visual and the audio so that anyone who missed the presentation can easily see it later. The only negative of this service is that you cannot download the visual and audio recording together, so you must keep paying the monthly fee for users to watch the webinars after they are presented (although you can download the audio alone and match it with the PowerPoint visual to create your own movies).
Speakers who are subject matter experts may also want your assistance in setting up online courses, like the one you are taking right now.
Once a speaker gives a webinar from a PowerPoint presentation or live video presentation, the speaker has created new intellectual property that can be used to create video movies that can be viewed by countless viewers on YouTube and on private sites like this one.