Producing a Chalk Talk is Easy, Fast, and Fun!
A Pre-Recording Brief for Chalk Talk Sponsors
Thanks for sponsoring an episode of EE Journal’s popular Chalk Talk webcast series. This brief is designed to help you prepare for your Chalk Talk recording session and to answer the common questions people have about producing a Chalk Talk on-demand webcast episode.
You Only Need Three Things!
As a Chalk Talk sponsor, the only things you need are a PowerPoint presentation, a speaker, and a couple of hours in your own conference room. We do everything else. The process is easy, fast, and fun. We promise!
Chalk Talk has been running for over nine years. We have produced hundreds of episodes with dozens of sponsors and we have a large and loyal audience following. We have fine-tuned the process of recording and producing Chalk Talk based on years of accumulated experience and analysis of results and audience response. Our goal is to produce the most interesting and engaging online presentation possible with an absolute minimal amount of time, effort, and stress on you, your company, and your speaker.
There’s No Need for Rehearsing or Scripting
Your PowerPoint presentation doesn’t need to be well-rehearsed or scripted. In fact, it’s usually better if it’s not. We actually recommend NOT scripting the presentation so that the end result is more natural and conversational. We want the final Chalk Talk to have a relaxed tone, with Amelia (our Chalk Talk host) in the role of your target customer. We tell presenters it’s like they’re having a casual coffee shop conversation with Amelia-as-their-customer (except, of course, they brought PowerPoint slides). Before we start recording, we’ll work with you to come up with a set of questions or comments for Amelia to make as a transition/lead-in into each slide (Typically, we do this in the room immediately before we start recording.)
AMELIA: “…OK, that makes sense but how do I manage power consumption?” (which then leads to your next slide – which just happens to be about power consumption.) This back-and-forth conversation/interview format is proven to have much higher audience retention than a single-presenter webcast.
It’s Only Audio – Don’t Worry About Your Hair or Makeup
We record only audio during the session – no video cameras, hair, or makeup. We bring all our own professional-grade audio equipment and setup/teardown is minimal. We generally do the equipment setup while chatting and getting to know your presenter. All we need is a quiet conference room – preferably one that’s fairly acoustically dead – we don’t want your Chalk Talk to have that “singing in the shower” tone.
We have a professional audio editor who creates the final recording – so there is really no pressure on your presenter. During the recording session, they get as many tries and “do overs” as they want. If they make a mistake, they can just pause, and then go back to the beginning of the sentence, the beginning of the slide, Amelia’s last question.. whatever. The audio editor also takes out most of the “uuhhhs”, “ummms”, long pauses, etc. – so the final result ends up sounding perfectly polished.
We take away an electronic copy of your PowerPoint – which we will synchronize with the final audio after editing. We often add additional animations to the PowerPoint to help illustrate what your speaker is saying, and to make the presentation more dynamic.
Note: This needs to be your FINAL copy of the slides. Changing slides after post-production is in process is an enormous amount of effort. Your slides need to be finalized before we start post-production.
How Long Should My Presentation Be?
We have produced Chalk Talks as short as six minutes, and as long as one hour. Our recommended target is 15-20 minutes as that is the peak point for audience retention. We recommend approximately one slide per minute – so between 15 and 20 slides is an average presentation, however we can deal with far more or far fewer. We want to take whatever time is needed to tell your story well, in a concise and compelling format that holds the audience’s attention.
Preparing Your PowerPoint Slides
The PowerPoint slides can use your company’s normal format/template. We build all the “chalkboard” environment, titles, intro and closing music, and landing page during post production. Your PowerPoint slides may include rich media such as video clips of demos or camtasia-style software demo captures if you think those would enhance the presentation. Be sure to remove any “company confidential” material and markings from slides as they will be going into a public webcast.
As you prepare slides, pay close attention to font size. Bigger is better! A lot of people watch Chalk Talk on smartphones, tablets, and other smaller-screen devices. You don’t want the audience straining to read microscopic fonts on their tiny mobile screen.
Also, we recommend that your PowerPoint slides be in widescreen (16:9 or 16:10) format. Since all the devices we’re broadcasting to are widescreen, your presentation will make the best use of the space if it’s widescreen too. Of course we can still handle “retro” 4:3 slides if that’s what you prefer. There will just be blank space on both sides of your slides.
We write and add Amelia’s “chalkboard” introduction during post-production. We try to make Amelia’s intro a humorous segue into the main point of the presentation before she introduces your speaker. We generally do not need any assistance from you for the intro – unless you have a creative idea or direction we can discuss during the recording session.
(OK, four things, actually)
At some point, we’ll need a headshot of your presenter. This doesn’t have to be a high-quality portrait. We’ll be turning it into a fake, old-school Polaroid and putting it in the webcast player on the “chalkboard”. We can even just snap an iPhone shot of your presenter while we’re there – that works just fine.
Post-production usually takes about 4 weeks, after which we send you a link to a proof copy for review. (Note: This is not the time to make changes to your slides. That was supposed to happen waaaaay up in the earlier steps – before we started post production.)
Once you have approved the episode, we can take the show live whenever you’re ready. It will be live for at least one year, and includes a tremendous amount of advertising/promotion over the course of that year to drive traffic to your webcast. It will be a “Featured Chalk Talk” on the home page of EEJournal.com, on EE Journal content pages, in EE Journal newsletters, on the EE Journal YouTube channel, on the EE Journal Facebook page, as well as Twitter, Google+ and other social media outlets. It will be everywhere. You’ll be famous. We’ll even send you embed code so you can put it on your own site if you want. Just let us know.
(Well, maybe FIVE things. But that’s all, we promise!)
We also will ask you for a “call-to-action” link to add to the presentation. Typically, this directs the viewer to a page of your choosing where they can take the next step of engagement – buy a development kit, download eval software, read a white paper, etc.. We will promote this link in the advertising for the Chalk Talk and in the presentation itself. We embed clickable links into the video and we put the call-to-action link in the description below the video player as well.
Most of all – we want your Chalk Talk experience to be easy and fun for you and your presenter. We really enjoy creating Chalk Talks, meeting new people, and learning about new technology. We think that enjoyment and spirit of fun comes through in the final presentation and makes the audience feel that way as well.