Using video in PowerPoint

Using video in PowerPoint

Using video in PowerPoint is as easy as adding images. A quick upload of a file is all it takes. However, video content has a very different impact on an audience than still images do, so it isn’t something to consider lightly.

Ask yourself: would a video effectively convey my presentation’s message?

Just like too much text, video can distract your audience’s focus away from you. That’s because our brains are naturally wired to watch moving objects. That’s fine if their focus should be on the video, if it is necessary to the story you are telling. But not if you need their attention on you.

In the loop

Video in PowerPoint used as a looping, toned-down background on a slide can be quite visually impressive. It won’t demand too much attention from the audience and could lend a higher level of professionalism. However, be cautious and apply the same principles you did when selecting those images. Poor video in PowerPoint will reflect badly on you and your brand.

Your organisation might have professionally-produced video content available for you. This should be the case if your communications director knows the importance of content marketing in the modern world and actively makes videos for YouTube and social channels. Ask to see what they have that carries your company’s branding and might be appropriate for your presentation.

Meanwhile, for those without the might of a marketing department behind them, websites like Pexels are great. They offer free-to-use downloadable clips that make perfect looping backgrounds or establishing shots if you’re editing together a larger video in PowerPoint.

Inserting a video clip into PowerPoint Using video in your PowerPoint presentations

Keeping it real

If you plan on using video in PowerPoint for more than a catchy background, and actually need your audience to watch and absorb a message, try to keep it authentic.

As with images, people are more likely to engage with video content they perceive as ‘real’, especially when it comes to a product or service. A short simple clip of an actual customer talking honestly about their experiences will have a greater effect than a stylised, high-budget video that potentially features actors.

Adam Braun is founder of Pencils of Promise, a charity that builds schools in poorer countries. He famously uses a video clip he filmed on his smartphone as part of his presentation. While working in Laos he recorded a short clip while speaking to three young girls who had no school to go to. Those three girls became the charity’s first pupils.

When fundraising, Braun inserts the 40 second clip into his deck. He reports that it is always very effective.

“There’s an authenticity to the footage because it’s not super high quality and it’s in the first person. You feel as though you are witnessing a special moment. The video is less than one minute long and it’s a powerful element for drawing out an emotional response.”

With your own smartphone in your pocket constantly, you too have the tools to capture something worthy to include as video in PowerPoint.

How to use a phone video clip in a PowerPoint presentation Using smartphone video in PowerPoint


Consider these types of ‘real’ videos:

  • Interviews. Like Braun’s brief chat with the children in Laos, is there a causal ‘back and forth’ you could record? Think of someone relevant to your PowerPoint presentation. A customer, expert, or colleague?
  • Testimonials. More talking heads than conversations, testimonials are a great way of showing what previous clients thought. Plus, editing the video in PowerPoint means you can show exactly what you want other people to know.
  • Events. The energy, hustle and bustle of an event is best portrayed with video. If you have given product demonstrations at a trade shows, held a media-friendly launch party, or if you can cobble together a clip showing lots of other people agreeing with you, do so and include it.
  • Case Studies. This one might be tougher to keep short, but if your company or business already has video case studies up on their social media accounts, could you possibly edit one down to distil the message?
  • Culture videos. Everyone loves to see people acting informally, and if you need to give an example of what kind of business you are or work for, a culture video could work. Short clips of people in the office, laughing, and being creative would be effective at creating a connection with the audience, and demonstrating what it would be like to work with you.

Consider these few tips, and inserting video content into your PowerPoint presentation could make a huge difference.

Get in touch with the creative people at Future Present today for more help and advice with your next presentation.