Why Posting Presentation Files is Difficult

At last week’s talk at Portland Web Innovators, I promised to post the slides on Cloud Four’s blog. It seemed like a simple promise at the time, but boy has it turned out to be an ordeal.

  • My slides don’t make sense without my narrative — My slides are typically photographs or illustrations that augment the story that I’m telling instead of bullet points that I’m reading aloud. This makes for more dynamic presentations and fits my belief that my job is to tell a compelling story by adding a visual and hopefully an emotional component to the narrative.

    Unfortunately, a slide that has a picture of a wall covered in post-it notes and a title that says, “And she married me anyways” doesn’t make a lot of sense to those who weren’t at the presentation.

  • To add context to the slides, you need to add presenter’s notes or audio — Unless you created presenter’s notes from the beginning that can be digested by other people, at the very least you will need to go back to the slides and edit them all to add presenter notes. If you choose to record audio, you have to find the software to do this and learn how to record and compress the audio correctly.
     
  • Some slides have to be edited to simplify their transitions — I also found that I had to edit some slides that had automatic or timed transitions to no longer have those transitions because I would no longer control the timing of the slides.
     
  • No good solution for posting presenter’s notes online — My first choice was to add presenter notes. In fact, I added presenter notes to every slide before I realized that the services for uploading slides and embedding them in other sites didn’t support presenter notes very well. There appears to be no way to see the presenter notes if you embed a viewer like Slideshare into your site.

    I ended up copying all of my presenter notes (including the onerous task of converting non-ascii quotes which Slideshare wasn’t escaping correctly) into comments on each slide. I then added a large note on the first slide instructing viewers on how to view the slides.

    Ultimately, I was disappointed in this solution because if I embed the slides into Cloud Four’s blog, the presenter notes won’t show up.

  • Recording audio isn’t fun — Actually, I’m sure it is for people who do it more often than I do, but I had several aborted attempts including one complete run that didn’t have enough volume.

    The lessons here are that Garage Band is much easier to use than Audacity, that I can’t listen to my own voice for any length of time so I didn’t try to edit the audio at all, and that 3/4 quarters of the way through the audio I realized that I had said that things were going to “radically change” far too many times (yet another reason why I *will not* be listening to the audio again).
     

  • Slideshare has been processing my audio for almost 24 hours now — The final hold up on posting the slides appears to be problem with Slideshare that is preventing me from uploading the audio file successfully. I’ve submitted a few support tickets, but have no idea when it will be resolved.

Throughout this process, I’ve found myself thinking, “This shouldn’t be this hard.” But the reality is that the type of presentation that is compelling live is very different than one that can be comprehended by someone reading online. Any way you slice it, it takes a lot of work to repurpose your slides for online posting.

So for those who are waiting for the slides to be posted, I apologize. They are truly on their way. And believe me, I want them posted as soon as possible. :-)

3 thoughts on “Why Posting Presentation Files is Difficult

  1. Pingback: User First Web » Mobile Presentation Posted

  2. Ryan Williams

    That’s what I call going above and beyond the call of duty of a presenter. Though the message is a great one to get out. One positive thing is with the advent of UStream and Yahoo! Live, we should work harder to get live + archive video and audio going, or at least the audio part.

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