“More is better than less,” proclaimed my economics professor at Southern Methodist University. He repeated the line frequently. The phrase is often accurate: More revenue is better than less. More profit is better than less. My junior high school age daughter will attest that more popularity is better than less.

More information is also better than less for public presentations.

As an audience member, I like being able to view a presenter’s slides online. Viewing the slides later helps me remember the event. The slides often provide specific details – such as statistics or reference links – that I might not otherwise recall.

As a presenter, publishing slides online lets me measure the relative popularity of my presentations. The process is simple: create a presentation, publish the slides online, then measure popularity. More “views” are better than less.

Create slides

Presenters can create slides using nothing more than a browser and the Slides application in Google Apps. Login to your Google account, go to Google Drive (http://drive.google.com/), click the “Create” button and choose “Presentation” (or Slides) from the menu. Slides can include text, images, charts, hyperlinks, and embedded YouTube videos.
You might consider SlideRocket.com, if you need to create more sophisticated slides online. For example, you can record voice commentary for each slide and create slides that display live Twitter stream search results. You can also obtain feedback from viewers with built-in polls and forms. SlideRocket offers free and paid versions, and can be linked to an organization’s Google Apps account via the Google Apps Marketplace.

Publish slides

Make Google Apps slides public by clicking on the Share button, and then making the slides public on the web. Copy and share the link with your audience. If you use Google+, paste the link into a post; readers can view the document embedded in the post.
Make it easier for people to access the slides by shortening the link: copy the link, then go to http://goo.gl and paste the long link in the text box. You’ll receive a shortened link that will be much easier for your audience to type: include this shortened link on a slide in your presentation.

SlideRocket has similar publishing features to make slides public or restrict access. With SlideRocket, you can require registration, as well as require a presentation-specific password. Viewing invitations may be set to expire on a specific date.

Presenters also might export the presentation and upload it to SlideShare.net. SlideShare provides a public directory of presentations created by a user. This makes it easy to share a single link to access public presentations, e.g., http://slideshare.net/awolber. SlideShare Pro is listed in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Measure presentation popularity

Some basic data about a presentation’s popularity is free. Count the number of document views in SlideShare.net, for example. See how many +1s a document shared on Google+ receives. For sophisticated users with linked Google Apps and Google Analytics accounts, dive into detailed reports that include the number of page views, unique pageviews, and the average time on the page.

Link your Google Apps account to Google Analytics to measure document popularity

The Pro versions of both SlideShare ($19/month) and SlideRocket ($24/month) provide additional data about viewers. SlideShare Pro provides the number of times a presentation has been favorited and downloaded. It also provides a list keywords people used to find your presentations.

SlideShare Pro provides download and favorites data

SlideRocket Pro provides a set of viewer information, but also includes detailed slide-by-slide viewing data. Presenters can identify which slides viewers skip past, and which ones receive more attention.

SlideRocket provides detailed slide viewing data

Choose the tool that makes the most sense for your needs. Publish your presentations online, and then measure your online audience’s viewing behavior. You might learn that short, concise sets of slides with specific, actionable information keep their attention; more attention on fewer slides. Or, as Mies van der Rohe stated: “Less is more”.

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