How do we make virtual presentations less boring?
5 quick hacks as we "celebrate" a year of work-from-Zoom
Thanks to everyone who reached out after reading my email last week – Where'd all my friends go? Rewiring our collective definition of “together” and “belonging” and “networks." It was awesome to hear from old and new friends, and even strangers.
This week I spoke at an American Marketing Association student chapter, Drake University’s “Cool Jobs” series, and the American College of Thessaloniki in Greece. And I’ve been thinking a lot about what it can be like to be on the other end of these hour-long presentations… BORING.
I can’t believe this week is marks 11-months since I published “15 Tips for Being On Camera All Day Long,” but here we are. So as we cross into a full year of remote presentations, I’ve been experimenting with ways to make virtual presenting way less tedious. Nobody wants to be responsible for bored faces during yet another video presentation, so it’s up to you to help mix it up.
Here are some quick things anyone can do to plus up a Zoom presentation: 1) Start with an icebreaker scavenger hunt (e.g., find something blue and hold it up to the camera - go!). 2) Use polls. 3) Ask questions and ask for folks to put answers in the chat. 4) If it’s a longer session, use breakout rooms and small group discussions.
And 5) I’ve been experimenting with some camera and presentation software, too. Mmhmm is a poorly named but pretty strong tool for building interactive presentations, green-screening yourself into work, and even sharing slides “local news style” in the screen corner while you’re on camera. It works with Zoom, Google Meet, and others.
But I also discovered if you click “Share Screen,” then “Advanced Sharing Options,” and then “Slides as Virtual Background” you can get a lot of these features within Zoom natively. So I let my free trial of Mmhmm expire and would gladly take your recos if there are other presentation hacks worth exploring.
As we “celebrate” a year working-from-Zoom, your IT folks may have lots of tips and tricks for virtual meetings. And there are plenty of YouTube tutorials. Even if we all head back to offices this calendar year, Zoom is here to stay. Let’s all help mix it up!
Here’s what I’m tracking this week….
Granfluencers: Baby boomers control 70% of all disposable income in the U.S., spend 15 hours online every week and largely believe that social media improves their lives. Not only is this demographic spending time scrolling through their social feeds, but they spend more money online than younger generations—about $7 billion each year. So it’s no wonder that “Granfluencers” are becoming a thing on social media, as marketers expand their social media strategies to be more inclusive of a diverse age spectrum.
Cameo = $$: Cameo paid out $75 million to creators in 2020. Top earners were Brian Baumgartner, aka Kevin from The Office, who made over $1 million in bookings, followed by Brett Favre, Snoop Dogg, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Harrison, and Carole Baskin of Tiger King fame. A similar service called Memmo raised $10 milion this week, with a focus on European, Canadian, and local market celebs.
Twitter announces Super Follows and Communities: After years of product stagnation, this week Twitter announced big upcoming features, including the ability for users to charge their followers for access to additional content, and the ability to create and join groups based around specific interests. “Super Follows” will allow Twitter users to charge followers and give them access to content like bonus tweets, access to a community group, subscription to a newsletter, or a badge indicating your support. In a mockup screenshot, Twitter showed an example where a user charges $4.99 per month to receive a series of perks. Read more about these new features here.
Twitter is the World’s Stream of Consciousness: This week Twitter released a 33-page 2021 trends report. Key insights include things like: prioritizing self-care for ourselves and each other, focusing on creator culture, a growth in DIY spirituality, inspiring a better connected life, and empowering a truer express of self. Download it here.
Celebrate Pokemon Day on Saturday: For the 25th anniversary since Pokemon Red and Green came out in Japan, Pokemon is throwing a huge party, including a virtual Post Malone concert on Saturday on 6 p.m. CT on YouTube, Twitch and Pokemon.com. If you want to feel old, stream Post Malone’s cover of Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be With You.”
Patents of the Week: Although patent filings aren’t a guarantee that new technology will come to fruition, they give us a hint of where we may be headed next. This week Alphabet has invented edible balloons to stave off hunger. Google is exploring headphones that feature real-time translation. Amazon is exploring A.I. that can guess your size. Microsoft has developed an automatic meeting generator. Read about these and more here.
MN Twins Virtual Hall of Fame: The Twins launched Twins XR: A Virtual Hall of Fame Experience where anyone can navigate 3D clubhouses and video rooms to engage with artifacts, images, videos and individual exhibits for all 34 members of the Twins Hall of Fame. The power of the WebXR technology means you can interact with the experience via virtual reality headset, desktop computer, or mobile. Check it out here.
Business Reads of the Week:Marketers Pivot To Meet Pandemic Year’s Emerging Digital, Social And Political Trends; The next normal arrives: Trends that will define 2021—and beyond; The early internet kept showing us the future, and we rolled our eyes every time.
iOS 14.5 will have 217 new emojis, including heart on fire, exhaling face, and gender options for the people with beards.
A remastered 'nyan cat' NFT gif sold for the equivalent of $605k.
Spotify will start testing paid podcasts.
Google is lifting the political ad ban put in place following Capitol siege.
Facebook, Twitter and other large companies pledged to boost numbers of diverse leaders.
LinkedIn is developing a new service called Marketplaces to let its 740 million users find and book freelancers, pitting it against publicly traded firms such as Upwork and Fiverr.
Facebook responded to the Oversight Board’s ruling about nudity, misinformation, and community standards.
Canva has grown to 50M+ monthly active users and just bought two companies, including an AI-powered tool to remove backgrounds and one that allows users to create mockups for shirts and mugs.
Facebook has introduced a new “Hey Facebook” wake word for its family of Portal smart displays and the Oculus Quest platform.
COVID-19 meets fashion with the BioRomper, a $200 antimicrobial romper.
People were more actively deleting their past tweets in 2020.
If you’re looking for some instrumental tunes to work to, check out the new album drops this week from Mount Tantrum.
App of the Week: Black Highlighter lets you quickly censor screenshots before posting.
TikTok of the Week: Age as Software Updates via @thevantalord
TikTok of the Week II: @justinthereal asks “Can I Hit It With a Hammer?”
See you on the internet!
If you like this post, PLEASE click and “like” it. And share it. Or don’t. Be that way.