At a glance
By Rosalyn Page
Online presentations have become a staple of modern workplaces, which means keeping audiences engaged and interested is more important than ever.
Accountants are increasingly called upon to deliver presentations in Microsoft Teams. Holding people’s attention in Teams meetings can be a challenge, particularly when presentations are complex or data-heavy.
The good news is that there are many built-in features that add compelling visuals, enhance digital storytelling and keep the audience engaged.
Note: If none of the following apps are available when searched, go to “Get more apps” in Teams, and, if permitted by your organisation’s policy, download them for use.
1. Microsoft Whiteboard
Microsoft Whiteboard is a native digital collaboration tool that can be used to create and share visual, interactive canvasses that incorporate text, notes, images and emojis.
Whiteboard has templates for brainstorming, research, project planning, reviews, games and more. This makes it easy to get started because the workspace is ready and organised.
To include a Whiteboard in a Teams presentation, it is a simple matter of sharing a whiteboard within Teams and then collaborating on the board with others in the meeting.
2. Prezi Video
Prezi Video can be used to create virtual presentations, such as short tutorials, video guides, announcements, memos and more.
In fact, Prezi Video can be used to make almost anything that lends itself to visual storytelling incorporating a presenter.
Templates and an image database provide helpful shortcuts for creating engaging videos. Finance-related templates include budget updates, quarterly reports and annual reports.
Corporate logos can be uploaded, so that the presentation reflects the company’s visual identity.
Prezi presentations can be pre-recorded or delivered live in a virtual meeting. During a presentation, the presenter’s view includes speaking notes, a timer and cues to help stay on track, and analytics show data on how viewers engaged with the content.
If a more interactive, collaborative platform is needed, Mural might fit the bill. Mural is a digital whiteboard designed to help people work together virtually in real-time, both during an online meeting and asynchronously for hybrid teams.
Ready-made templates such as flow charts, mind maps and workflows have been developed around common-use cases. All information is protected with enterprise-grade security and privacy controls.
A Mural whiteboard can be integrated directly into Teams without needing to use the web app. All meeting attendees can collaborate during a video meeting.
A Teams meeting invite can have a Mural link pinned to it for sharing the workspace ahead of time, and it can be saved for a recurring meeting.
4. Microsoft PowerPoint Live
PowerPoint is a staple of many workplace presentations. PowerPoint Live has been built for virtual presentations delivered through Microsoft Teams.
Depending on how the user wishes to present, it is possible to show participants just the presentation or, alternatively, include yourself from your camera feed with the slide show.
Attendees can have a discussion with real-time chat and live reactions. Each attendee can also personalise their experience by customising their view of the slides, the language and colour scheme.
To share, just go to Share in Teams, then under PowerPoint Live, select the presentation. Presenters will see their presentation along with speaker’s notes and slide thumbnails, and they can use tools such as the on-screen laser pointer.
Polly is a collaboration app that enables speedy, real-time engagement during virtual Teams meetings and presentations. Polly can be used for polls, surveys, for quick feedback or in-depth data collection, as well as quizzes, Q&A sessions and pulse checks.
Participants can collaborate, capture feedback and make data-led decisions, which could be voting on lunch or a new initiative, with responses shared instantaneously by colleagues and participants.
Pre-built templates provide a helping hand to get started collecting feedback, and instant visualisations provide real-time results and trends.
Results can be analysed and segmented. The data can also be exported for external analysis, and all data is encrypted to ensure enterprise-grade security.
For an alternative digital whiteboard app, Miro is another option. Micro enables users to share new or existing whiteboards during Teams meetings.
Meeting participants can brainstorm, ideate and collaborate in real time. Miro boards can also be embedded as a tab in Teams, so that users can update them and collaborate asynchronously after a meeting is finished.
Miro has some neat features that enhance the collaboration experience, such as sticky notes, arrows, voting, timers and more.
Genially is a visual storytelling platform that can be used to create presentations, infographics, guides, training materials and animated videos. Music, video and interactive elements can be incorporated to bring visuals to life.
Pre-built templates include various data dashboards, economic reports and OKRs to suit finance and data-led presentations.
Genially also offers customisations with visual effects and animations, as well as drag-and-drop colours, icons and graphics – including logos.
Presentations can be shared in Teams via the dashboard or hosted online and shared with a URL during a meeting for participants to view.
Bonus: Using presentation modes in PowerPoint
Microsoft PowerPoint is still a useful tool, and it offers several modes to enhance presentations. Here are the steps to activate some of the most-used presentation modes.
1. Slide Show Mode:
- With the PowerPoint presentation open, click the “Slide Show” tab in the top menu.
- Click the “From Beginning” button to start the slide show from the beginning.
- Click “From Current Slide” to start the slide show from the current slide.
- Press F5 on the keyboard.
- To toggle audio on and off while in Slide Show mode, when the slide with audio has loaded, click the audio icon on the slide.
2. Presenter View:
Presenter View is useful for people who are using multiple monitors. It will display the current slide on the main display and Presenter View – with notes and next slide preview – on a secondary display.
- Click the “Slide Show” tab.
- Check the box next to “Use Presenter View” before starting the slide show.
3. Reading View:
Reading View allows users to preview their presentation without entering full Slide Show mode – the main difference being that the slides can still be edited.
- Click the “View” tab.
- Select “Reading View.”
4. Outline View:
Outline View shows the text content of slides in a hierarchical outline format, which is useful for structuring and editing content.
- Click the “View” tab.
- Select “Outline View.”
5. Slide Sorter View:
Slide Sorter View displays all the slides as thumbnails on a single screen, allowing the user to click and drag slides to reorder them easily.
- Click the “View” tab.
- Select “Slide Sorter.”