Softer, better, faster &
Standing out of the crowd
Nowadays it is extremely difficult to grab people’s attention towards a certain subject. Whether this is during a speech or through a written document, if your first impression fails, do not hope for a second chance. Besides, the attention span of the average knowledge worker hardly lasts longer than the one of an intelligent jelly fish. Therefore, once you’ve got people’s attention, it is key to keep them interested in what you want to say. Of course, some preconditions must be met in order to make people listen to you. First of all, your message needs to be transferred in a structured way. Secondly, graphic visualisations have to make sure that your audience continues listening. How lucky we are that the technological evolution made it possible to go beyond the traditional blackboard or flipchart.
Anno 2015 people are so used to visual stimuli that it is very hard to stand out of the crowd. A lot of tools are marketed as being good at engaging the audience, but none of these succeed in doing this as good as Sway does. Microsoft well realized the fact that not everyone is endowed with a graphic design talent. Hence, the company came up with a tool that allows users to easily create and share content. Since Sway takes care of the look and feel of the presentation, people can keep calm and concentrate on what really matters, namely the content of the message they want to transfer.
Sway is a web-based application and part of the Office Suite. By using Sway, you can quickly create and share visually attractive presentations in the cloud. Moreover, Sway provides a seamless integration with multimedia files, like pictures, photos and music. This obviously leads to an enhanced user experience.
A desktop version of the application doesn’t exist yet. However, given the cloud-based and mobile-first world of today, this poses no problem. After all, here at Spikes we are convinced of the fact that Sway makes your message softer, better, faster & stronger. When this is relevant and how to get started? Let’s move on, so we can explain you the basic principles!
Sway is your best friend when it comes to supporting your storytelling. Uh, storywhat? Storytelling enables you to connect with your audience in a friendly and easy-going way. Instead of just delivering your key message, you try to engage with the people you are talking to. Your ultimate goal when it comes to storytelling is making your audience actually remember the things you said. Which is not an easy task – indeed. Luckily, Sway can help you a great deal along the way.
Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever! – Native American proverb
If you ever googled Sway before – or even better: if you used it for a while – you might have noticed some similarities with PowerPoint already. Both applications are used to present content in a visually attractive to an audience in order to make it easier for them to understand your message. The difference however is the precise context in which either Sway or PowerPoint is used. PowerPoint definitely has the edge over Sway when it comes to formal presentations on a detailed subject. When a company wants to present its annual report during a shareholders meeting for instance, using PowerPoint might be the best option. Sway on the other hand is the right tool for presenting less formal content. Here you should think about organising a short ski with a few colleagues, a monthly newsletter that needs to be distributed in the company, et cetera. As you can see, numerous examples exist in which Sway can add more value to your message. Moreover, a Sway presentation looks good on any device, be it a laptop or a smartphone. Long story short: neither Sway nor PowerPoint are best suited in any case. But, depending on the specific situation you are in, Sway might be your best friend!
Everyone who ever created a PowerPoint presentation knows the struggle. It is very tempting to start focussing on small imperfections with regard to the layout of your presentation. Although you should definitely pay attention to the layout, esthetical nit-picking should not become the core activity when making a presentation. Nevertheless, a lot of people give in to that temptation. Sounds familiar, isn’t it? Sway doesn’t test your self-control any longer. Thanks to the library of templates you won’t feel the need to start designing on your own. Besides, there are only a few functionalities that let you design a Sway presentation. There’s little chance that you will lose your thread of thought because of transitions, animations and SmartArt. The absence of those bells and whistles makes it easier for you to concentrate on what really matters for you and your audience: the content of your presentation.
But what if there are a thousand miles separating you and your audience? No problem! Sharing content in the cloud might already sound familiar to you, since it makes sending overly attached e-mails no longer necessary. Sway definitely uses the power of the cloud, as it makes sharing presentations easy as pie. So Sway does not only make it easier to create your presentation, it is also possible to share it with a single click!
Softer, better & faster, so far. These different aspects of Sway let users communicate their message in a more powerful way than ever before. It is almost like greeting new people: even though the intention is not bad at all, there is nothing worse than a weak handshake. Your content deserves to be that firm handshake that leaves a strong impression instead! Especially when people tend to have less time to absorb all those fragmented bits and pieces of information, it is key to stand out of the crowd.
Among our colleagues PowerPoint has the upper hand as far as formal presentations, which contain a lot of technical details that need to be explained in a structured way, are concerned. The audience in this case may vary from important customers to a company’s shareholders. But as soon as the content gets more straightforward or informal, Sway is definitely worth a shot. In such a situation, do not hesitate to use Sway to tailor your message in a softer, better, faster & stronger way!
- Getting Started with Sway
- Jeremy Hancock, a SharePoint Architect, posted in the O365 community (via Yammer) an intresting Sway about ‘The User experience of working with business documents in OneDrive for Business’