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Consider the Impact of a Presentation’s Shelf Life

by Kenneth Rudich

When developing a presentation, do you consider what kind of shelf life it may have?  And maybe more importantly, the implications associated with it having a shelf life?  If not, then perhaps it’s time to begin.

Presentations come in a host of varieties and flavors.  Some have a short shelf, like those given only once and never seen again.

Others are delivered live over and over and over again until they eventually get old and must be retired.  These might be characterized as having a somewhat longer shelf life.

Still others may be accessible for an extended period of time, possibly years.  This is especially common when they’re uploaded to a social media platform or a video distribution site.  These presentations might be characterized as having a long shelf life.

The reason this concept has become so important is because modern technology permits the ability to easily extend the shelf life of a presentation even though it may be ill-advised to do so.

For instance, how many times have you seen a live presentation that was also recorded on video and then put up on the Internet as a marketing vehicle?  Only thing is, when you watch it on the internet, it’s immediately apparent the idea to record it came as an afterthought.  Maybe the video production work was inept, or the lighting in the room was all wrong, or the presentation slides were hard to read because they were captured straight from a projection screen.  Whatever the reason, it just didn’t translate well to the video medium.  So what you’ve got is a good live presentation that looks horrible on video.

Now don’t get me wrong, recording a live presentation can work just fine, but that only occurs when the proper arrangements have been made for it.  If you fail to make those arrangements, then the recorded version won’t be anywhere near as good as the live one.  And unfortunately, this happens all too often.  You don’t have to surf the Internet for long to find a surprising number of live presentations that have fallen into this trap. 

But the real kicker in this scenario is that the Internet version, which of course is now the lesser of the two, will have a far longer shelf life than the live presentation.  Once the live presentation is done, it’s over and gone.  The Internet version, on the other hand, will go on and on.  So instead of people seeing the good presentation, the one that projects a positive image, they’re viewing the one that looks sloppy and careless.  From a marketing communications standpoint, this is the equivalent of shooting your business in the foot. 

The better thing to do in a situation like this is to invest the extra time and effort it takes to make a proper video recording.  If you decide to capture a live presentation, make sure everything is in place well ahead of time.  You might even want to do a walk-through before doing it for real.  Another alternative is to do a separate presentation just for the recording.  Many times it’s easier and more effective to do it this way than it is to capture the live one.  Either way, you should always be a stickler for putting your best foot forward, regardless of where the presentation will be seen or how much shelf life it will have.

So there you have it: always consider the shelf life of a presentation in addition to everything else.


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