A number of years ago I heard a lot about how every presentation in the future would include video. It was the hot topic of the day. Video is useful in some presentations like sales or recognition presentations. As I’ve moved to deal with more data heavy presentations, I have found that video does not fit as well when your message relates to the analysis of data. I still get asked about using video sometimes, so thought I’d share some advice and resources.

Back when it was popular, I did a webinar on how to use video in PowerPoint. I removed it from my site last year because too much of the mechanics I covered are out of date with newer versions of PowerPoint. Much of the advice I gave is still valid, such as:

  • Video clips should be a maximum of 30 seconds long and only make one point. People watch so much video today that they expect it to be quick.
  • The quality of the video clip matters. The video we shoot with our phones is great quality and we expect the video in a presentation to be the same.
  • Widescreen video clips are now the norm. That is what our TVs are and our phones. If you use the old 4x3 square format, people will think the clip is outdated.
  • You can’t just use any video you find on the Internet. All videos are automatically copyrighted and you need permission from the owner. I wrote this article on why you need permission to use videos from YouTube.
  • Playing video that is locally stored on your computer is much safer than relying on an internet connection to play a video from a website. I’ve seen online video fail too many times due to a host of different connection issues.
  • Two resources to convert between video formats that I have used with success: 1) online-convert.com – an online conversion service, and 2) www.any-video-converter.com – software you can download and install that does the conversion on your computer. Both offer free versions.
  • It is important to introduce the video clip before you show it. I suggest you include the following: 1) let them know you will be showing a video so they can prepare to focus on the screen and not you, 2) give an overview of the clip so they have context, and 3) let them know what you want them to focus on and when it will happen so they don’t miss the important message.
  • When the video is playing, make sure you look at the screen and watch the video. The audience will look where you are looking and you want them to focus on the video clip.

In the webinar I also covered the mechanics of video formats and inserting the video clip in PowerPoint, which is now out of date. Here are some resources I trust for more current information on the mechanics of using video in PowerPoint:

  • This article on what video file formats work in different versions of PowerPoint
  • This site that offers tutorials for every version of PowerPoint on the video features (along with all other features)
  • These articles on different aspects of using video in PowerPoint

If you want to use video in your presentations, use the above tips and resources to be successful.