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Is VR the future of business presentations?

(Image credit: Image Credit: Jeshoots / Unsplash)

Engaging the audience and keeping them focused on the message you are trying to deliver is the number one priority for any presentation. Whether it’s pitching a sales deck to a small group of decision makers, or presenting a new product to hundreds of people at an event, event presentation designers are constantly trying to think of innovative ways to capture the attention of their audience.

The use of animation and video in a presentation helps to elevate the content beyond the standard format. However, with virtual reality (VR) technology now more advanced, stable and accessible than ever before, how can this be integrated into a presentation? At one moment in time VR seemed like an idea that could only belong in science fiction. But it is very much a reality today and looks set to change the way products, services and ideas are pitched to audiences around the world.

Interaction and reaction

Rather than viewing images and text on a screen, the use of VR makes it an immersive experience, further involving the audience. Transforming a 2D picture or video into a stereoscopic image instantly changes how much information is being absorbed. With the auditory and visual senses fully engaged, the content is far more likely to be retained by the viewer for a longer period of time.

The biggest barrier PowerPoint designers have to overcome with any presentation is the physical distance between the speaker and the content. The wider the gap, the harder it becomes to keep everyone fully focused on the information being delivered. Where possible, speakers will try to encourage audience participation to keep them engaged. But they aren’t magicians, and even the very best presenters accept not everyone will keep up with the flow of content.

Yet, the interactive nature of VR instantly changes this whole dynamic, bridging the space between the speaker and their audience. If they can touch and react to the content you are providing, this enables them to establish a much stronger connection. We live in an age where interaction and participation is expected due to the ongoing advancements in technology in our lives. The use of VR allows businesses to get valuable feedback in an instant, while leaving an impression on their audience that won’t easily wear off.

Affordable and accessible

Cost may prove to be an issue for some businesses, but there are affordable entry points that start at as little as £15 for Google Cardboard, which can also be branded and taken home by the audience. The device works by simply sliding a smartphone into the front slot, instantly giving people access to a 360° world.

Similarly, PlayStation VR is another cost effective option that removes the need to invest heavily in devices like HTC Vive and Oculus. Much will depend on the scale of the presentation and the size of the audience receiving it, but these alternatives show the technology is not out of the reach of most companies. It opens up a world of possibilities that can position your business as a forward-thinking and innovative organisation, willing to use technology to provide clear cut solutions to your customers. 

Using VR at events

While the technology may be different and more advanced, the principles of delivering a memorable presentation remain the same. You need to have a clear idea of the journey you want to take the audience on, how you are going to get from A to B, and what reaction you want to get back. The question for those who are not used to the technology is how to integrate it into the flow of content without slowly down the presentation.

VR is tailor-made for an audience to get a detailed look at the vision you have in store for a product or service. A 2D presentation requires a leap of imagination to translate what’s on screen, while an immersive experience inside a VR headset allows them to see for themselves. By letting your customers take control, they can connect with the product in their own way, essentially selling itself to them.

Maintaining the energy amongst a crowd of potential customers or investors is a key element PowerPoint designers must factor into the structure of corporate presentations. When the energy in the room lowers, so too does the attention span. The introduction of VR energises the audience and quickly re-focuses the mind. Not every activity has to be set around relaying information. The technology is the perfect way to add a bit of fun and to create a buzz in the room that acts as a springboard into another section of the presentation.

The future is now

The boundaries of technology continue to expand exponentially and what was almost impossible a few years ago is now easily achievable. It feels like there are no limits to the ways VR can add tangible benefits to presentations of any size. But, it isn’t only VR that looks set to transform the way event presentation designers piece together their content.

Augmented reality (AR) is seen as the next step beyond VR, merging the real world around us with elements that are enhanced by computer-generated input. This can be anything from graphics and GPS overlays, to the use of video and sound. Rather than bringing your customers to the product in a 3D environment, AR shows them how it fits directly into the world as they know it.

Whether it’s for corporate presentations or product launches, event presentation designers hold the key to revolutionising the way the business world interacts with each other. Gone are the days when a list of benefits and a charming smile would be enough to secure a deal, or convince customers your product holds value. VR technology connects your audience directly with whatever it is you want to demonstrate and shows it to them in practical terms.

It’s a change we are embracing at Presentation Experts as our clients expect new and creative ways of engaging with their customers. PowerPoint designers willing to adopt the technology at this relatively early stage will gain an advantage over those still using traditional formats. While business owners can take a bold step into the future, creating unique experiences that ensures they stand out from the competition.

Paul Campbell, founder, Purple Patch Group (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: Jeshoots / Unsplash

Paul Campbell is the founder of the Purple Patch Group, a business that started life as a London events agency over ten years ago before expanding to create Presentation Experts. A specialist presentation design agency.