Making any kind of prediction for 2021 seems bold when you consider how unexpectedly 2020 went for all of us. However, as the world adjusts to social distancing, mandatory masks, and restricted capacities, presentation has also shifted gears dramatically.
As we’ve seen the digitalisation of various sectors, including presentation, these channels have all become more media enriched. People are consuming more media content than ever; especially as live events are either cancelled or operating at a limited capacity. Presentations joined this wave, moving towards webinars and taking the live-event space into the digital realm through webinars.
Operating in this space means presentations are competing with the limitless media available through our devices – social media updates, open browser tabs, and numerous distractions normally kept at bay during live events.
This loss of social rules means makes holding audiences’ complete attention is more challenging than ever. Common courtesy and social pressures from a live crowd prevents you from browsing your phone, getting up regularly to grab snacks, or attend a presentation in your pyjamas.
Audiences now operate in digital silos, rather than social gatherings – making it challenging for them to connect with the content being shared and each other.
Presentations need to be more captivating to capture and hold audiences’ attention, understanding how to operate in this highly competitive online world of limited attention, global reach, and increasingly media-rich content.
The digitalisation and mediatisation of presentations has also removed a critical link between presenters and audiences – the ability to gauge reactions. Speaking into a webcam rather than a packed conference hall removes a sense of community and connection that cannot be translated digitally.
To bridge the gap between digital presenters and audiences, a new role must be developed for webinar and presentation moderators. Our prediction is that these people will interface between audiences and those presenting, checking the audience’s reactions, reading their comments, and sharing the relevant audience contributions with those presenting (and subsequently the audience as well).
The countless question marks surrounding live events means presentations face an indefinite period of adaptation and potential growth. We’ve already seen many events digitally redeploy through online channels like webinar and live stream, but how does one create a greater sense of intimacy and trust onscreen?
Smart salespeople are utilising hybrid approaches to do just this. Unable to travel and present to potential clients and decision makers, they understood the digitalisation process and its benefits. With a clear cost effectiveness of scale, salespeople are investing in webinar and presentation design to create a polished look that translates onscreen and supplements the inability to connect socially.
Sales and business development channels will continue becoming more hybridised due to travel and social-event restrictions. This will further drive the value and importance of presentation design in creating audience engagement across digital channels and at-home audiences.
A critical impact of working from home is how the format of presentations will change. This isn’t just about how presenter decide to structure their content and try to create audience engagement through the digital void, but also understanding how audiences are consuming their media-rich presentations and adapting accordingly.
Previously, presenters could design their content based on the massive screen usually available in conference halls and auditoriums. Today, people are working from their own devices, which forces presenters to create more universal designs that can easily be enjoyed on a desktop, laptop, or smartphone.
The format change from live-venue screens to audience’s individual devices will drive presentation design to be more considerate of audience’s varying touchpoints. This create added testing for presenters that need to understand how well their content will be received on different devices and optimise for all. Our prediction is more mobile-dimensioned, long scrolling content and vertical videos.
One joy of being forced indoors is that we each have a boundless digital world available to us online, providing accessibility to events that would otherwise require tickets, travel considerations, and other limitations. The world has become a lot smaller despite our inability to go out and explore it physically.
As presentation content becomes more accessible, presentation design will continue following suit, becoming more accommodating to a wide audience, more considerate of different people’s circumstances, limitations, and needs.
We’re already seeing this with the common use of subtitles in most media content, especially social media, which is commonly scrolled through on silent by users. This will continue further as data visualisation makes complex information more accessible and understandable for audiences and increasing video content impacts/reduces the text-heavy content created in previous years.
As we move towards greater audience centricity with the shared challenge of connecting during this global pandemic, more authenticity has helped content creators remain engaging. Presentations need to follow suit, becoming more human, more conscious of audience needs, and more genuine in their unique character, personality, and offering.
The need to be authentic and human centred is well demonstrated through being more conscious of audiences, social issues, and acting compassionately. This year has highlighted our shared pain points, our need to connect, and our desire to create a better world through social consciousness. Authenticity will need to be complemented by championing causes and beliefs that best reflect your brand.
Big data is not going away in 2021. We’re seeing how data is driving all kinds of intelligent business processes, such as customer recommendations, streamlining deliveries, and using data to create more audience-centric practices.
Streaming services capitalise on user data to help drive recommendations, potential advertising opportunities, and inform future content creation according to those metrics. The best utilisation of user metrics goes to Spotify, sending annual personalised data reports to individual users highlighting their listening habits over the year.
Utilising audience personas and data will create further opportunities to personalise engagement offerings. Creating unique experiences for audiences is vital for brands and presenters looking to distinguish themselves for the highly competitive mediascape. Our prediction means more personalisation, more tailored experiences, and more audience-focused content.
We’ve noted previously about the growing use of both webinars and video/animation for businesses and presenters. According to Wyzowl, 85% of businesses use video as a marketing tool in 2020 while 92% of marketers who use video say it’s an important part of their overall strategy.
Consumers also expect more video content and brands need to accommodate this shift towards more motion-driven content, particularly as webinars and social media offer critical channels for connecting with audiences.
It’s becoming more common to use movement and animation as part of a brand’s content strategy and presentation approach. Expect more video content, more webinars, more motion-driven content that helps engage and retain audiences’ short-attention spans.
With video sharing and streaming becoming more prevalent, and customisation a growing trend, the global pandemic opened the doors for influencers and celebrities to offer a message relay service to fans. Using social media platforms, audiences could essentially use certain actors and musicians as a video-message to send personal messages to friends.
We will see the development of a video platform service allowing people to send and receive personalised content as a secure and convenient third-party solution. Social media and sharing platforms fall short on security and control over content – people want the peace of mind offered through more transparent service providers that don’t monetise content or data.
2021 is going to be another year of creative adaptation, using the technologies and techniques we have available to remain safe while connecting with others. The digitalisation and mediatisation of presentation is making things more complex but also more accessible and far reaching than ever before. The key is to capitalise on these new methods of creating and sharing content to help rebuild a sense of community lost through social isolation.
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