By Philippa Leguen de Lacroix
In the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, there’s a phenomenon called “SEP” that you just can’t see. SEP stands for Somebody Else’s Problem, and quite simply: we all choose not to see it.
I’m pretty sure this same principle applies to all those buttons on applications that we don’t know what they do. We just don’t see them. Blissfully unaware! For example: “Triggers” in PowerPoint’s Animation Pane has been there for a very long time, probably. But it’s only in recent years that we’ve been using them. And we’re making up for lost time now. They are genius!
Simply put, a triggered animation is one that only happens when you click something else. The best way to explain this is through demonstration – here’s a video:
Benefits of Having Triggers in Your Presentation:
1. Triggers Can Reduce Cognitive Overload
A presentation is not a printed document (despite the evidence of millions of slides out there!) and one of the techniques we use to de-clutter slides and improve navigation is to hide a menu so that it only appears when you click a button on the slide.
It’s vitally important to keep text light and easy to follow. Science tells us that the brain cannot read and listen simultaneously. Indeed, this is basically why Death by PowerPoint exists! So a great way to strip out the clutter and present your content in a more organised and navigable way is by setting a hidden menu to release on a click.
The menu itself contains hyperlinks – just like a website – so you can jump over to slides in your deck on a click.
Imagine if you could hop to the relevant case studies or slides of interest within a particular sales meeting? Easily done with an interactive menu. And the bonus of course is that you don’t need multiple versions of the same presentation for different client meetings – you can just use one deck with everything. And jump about to the relevant sections for that particular meeting.
You can also remove additional content from the screen so that it only appears when needed. For example – you could “hide” the specs of a product, or historical data, or additional photographs, or a video like in our demo. In this way, you can keep a whole library of information, and show it in an organised, and structured way. You get kudos points for this kind of thing.
2. Triggers Can Boost Interactivity and Increase Engagement
In our video sample we show a multiple choice quiz question, with answers being revealed on user clicks. As well as quizzes, triggers can be very effective for elearning. Imagine your in-house H&S training, or any other educational business goals. And it can be fun. You know with a trigger that there will be “action” on the slide and this certainly encourages the audience to pay attention. A crucial ingredient to any successful PowerPoint experience!
This type of “play” environment using hyperlinks allows a closer rapport with your audience. You can take them on a different journey each time. Exploring & adapting to demand and interest is great for increasing presentation engagement levels. Each time you present it would be fresher, and it would be unique to that audience. A much better buzz each time!
So our advice is to learn the Trigger animation features. How we use it is only limited by our imaginations. So go out and explore these buttons and have more fun with your presentations!
Philippa Leguen de Lacroix is co-founder of Presented – a UK company who specialize in transforming PowerPoint presentations (and avoiding that whole “death by…” syndrome).
The company is now 10 years old, and before that Philippa worked in Desk Top Publishing for a few investment banks for a number of years. In her spare time, she helps to run a field hockey club and coaches children to play.