YouTube & Your Slide Deck: Why You’re Doing It Wrong

A well-placed video in a presentation slide deck can serve many purposes:

  • Emotional plea
  • Expert testimony
  • Laugh out loud entertainment
  • A chance for the presenter to get a glass of water

Do you want to know what really bugs me? Watching a presenter futz around with clicking on a hyperlink, waiting for a video to load, or apologizing because the internet connection in the space is too slow. Worse, realizing that there is no internet so their awesome video remains a figment of my imagination. The worst: watching an ad before the video, during election season.

How not to include YouTube videos in your slide deck

The first two examples come from my old slide decks. We all had to start somewhere, right?

  1. Paste the link to the video into the slide deck and click on it when you want to view the video.

    PowerPoint Slide Screenshot - YouTube URL

    Yes, I also used a terrible PowerPoint template

  2. Take a screenshot of the video, place it in your slide deck, but hyperlink the video to the YouTube page.

    PowerPoint Screenshot YouTube Video

    I actually combined two no-no’s in this one

    Note: although this is a bad method for live presentations, it’s an excellent way to design a slide deck that you want to upload to Slideshare, since the great tip you’re about to read doesn’t work in that format.

  3. Embed the YouTube video directly in the PowerPoint slide using the embed code.
PPT Slide

Great for websites, not for slide decks

How to use a YouTube video in your slide deck

The answer is simple: download it!

If you don’t download your videos, you’re leaving yourself at the mercy of the internet connection where you’re presenting, or performance of YouTube at any given time. You’re also potentially making your audience sit through 15-30 seconds of ads. These are all risky situations for an otherwise polished presenter.

Downloading YouTube videos is easy with KeepVid (it also works with Vimeo). Just make sure you insert the link in the text box at the top, rather than clicking the large “download” button, which is actually an ad. The site even offers a bookmarklet so you can drag and drop videos to download on the fly.

Once you’ve downloaded your video, use Insert–>Movie to put it in your presentation. You can resize it however you like and adjust the setting to play when the slide loads or when you click.

Important: For this method to work, you must have the video saved with the slide deck, whether that’s on a hard drive or portable storage device. The video does not actually get saved within the slide deck itself. Rather, a link to the file you’ve saved is inserted into the presentation.

If for some reason this tip doesn’t work for you, let me know. It’s always worked for me, but things change. Happy slide deck building!

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