In football (the North American usage of the word) hang time is the time the ball stays in the air during a punt. For example, in the NFL it’s typically between 4 – 5 seconds. For presentations I call the time a single slide is on the audience’s screen, when nothing much is changing or moving, it’s “hang time”. Your slide hang time is an important thing to think about for online presentations.
I was reviewing a recording of a client’s online presentation the other day. I noticed that they seemed to speak quite a bit about each slide. That means the audience was staring at the same static image on the screen for quite a while. We are used to watching videos and TV shows where there is almost constant motion. This means that starring at static image for any length of time is usually boring. String a bunch of high hang time slides together and you risk losing your audience’s attention. As most presenters know, keeping your audience’s attention is one of the most challenging aspects of presenting online.
I don’t think it’s a single slide’s hang time that is important, it’s about the average. When I do in person presentations my average hang time is around 30 secs. per slide. For my online presentations I shorten that time. There are several ways to do this. Use more slides with less on them, or maybe add more slides with interesting images. You can also use build slides and/or add more animations. Adding animations can make a single slide more interesting.
To keep your audience’s attention, you need to give them the experience that the presentation is in motion, that it’s going somewhere. One way to do this is to shorten your average slide hang time.
So… what’s your average hang time?