The National University of Singapore have developed an add-on software called PowerPointLabs. If you are an ambitious PowerPoint user who doesn’t have time to fiddle around with learning all the tricks that experts such as the BrightCarbon staff have figured out, then you may find PowerPointLabs to be very helpful.
Glisser is an online platform that allows you to add interactive elements to your presentations. It describes itself as ‘all-in-one audience engagement software for live events and the classroom’. Since creating engaging presentations is what we do, I decided to review Glisser and see what it’s all about and how it works.
We first reviewed Glisser back in 2015, they are now on the 2nd generation platform which has a new user and audience interface, more features and polls, and more advanced data analytics, so it’s about time we took another look.
Glisser consists of a bunch of different tools designed to facilitate presenter-audience interaction. Depending on which plan you chose, you’ll get a different combination of features. There are two genres of plan, Event and Education. At BrightCarbon, we do more corporate than academic work, so I checked out the two Event plans.
Entry: This is the more basic offering. Users can access Digital Q&A, Unlimited Live Polling, Real-time Slide Sharing, Twitter Wall Feed, Audience Note Taking, Analytics Preview and Web Chat Support.
Enterprise: You get everything in the Entry plan plus, Q&A Moderation, Twitter Moderation, Live Slide Tweeting, Audience Event Agendas, Multiple Rooms & Streams, Custom Branding, Microsoft PowerPoint Add-In, Advanced Security Controls, User Roles, Custom Event Reporting, Data Export, CRM Integration, Account Manager and Onboarding & Training.
There isn’t any clear pricing on their website as Glisser offers custom pricing depending on whether you want to use the tool for a one-off event or on an ongoing basis. However, high pricing was occasionally mentioned as a con in customer reviews, so just bear that in mind. Potential pricing aside, anyone can sign up for a 14-day free trial and test out the Entry features before committing and that’s just what I did.
First impressions, the interface is nice and clean, responsive and easy to navigate around.
Once you’ve signed up, you are sent to the Presentations screen and have the option to Add Presentation. You can’t create or edit slides in Glisser, but it is designed to work with imported content from various creation software including PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides and more. I imported some sample slides from PowerPoint which was very easy and, once my slides were in, I could drag and drop to reorder them.
However, the formatting of my text was messed up on some slides and I certainly wouldn’t be happy presenting it to an audience like that. I got in touch with Glisser who were very friendly and replied quickly to let me know that I should save my PowerPoint as a PDF first, then upload it. This was an annoying extra step, but it did fix the problem.
There are a few other types of slides you can add including video straight from YouTube, which worked perfectly, and various interactive slides. I’ll talk about these later.
On the right-hand side, you can enable or disable interactivity options, for example whether your audience can download your presentation, giving you control over exactly how they interact with your slides. In this panel you can also adjust colours, add a background image or logo and change data security settings.
A huge downside is that Glisser does not support animations. It’s difficult to look past this. We have lots of resources showing why animations are great, like this post on animating graphs. If you want to learn more about PowerPoint animation, this animation ninja post is a great place to start. Glisser have tried to resolve the issue by offering a PowerPoint add-in which allows you to add Glisser features, like live polls, into your PowerPoint deck, rather than putting your PowerPoint deck into Glisser. Let us know in the comments below if you have used this add in!
Presenting your slides
The first slide your audience will see is an URL that they can type into their devices to get access to all the interactive content you’re using. I’d advise having this on screen for a fair amount of time before you begin your presentation, so everyone can get set up, put in their email address, and troubleshoot before you start.
It took me an embarrassing amount of time to realise that to move off this URL screen and advance the slide you have to use the arrow keys – rather than click the mouse – but once I’d figured that out, running through the slides was very smooth. These codes are only live whilst you are presenting, so you won’t be able to interact with my presentation now.
Glisser provides different types of interactivity including: Opinion, Quiz, Rating, Free Text, Date Picker, Survey, and Lottery. Depending on whether you simply want to keep your audience engaged or actually collect data, different types of interactivity will be your friend.
It’s really easy to set these slides up, you simply type in the questions or text you want and Glisser does the rest. The survey is useful for collecting more detailed information about your audience that you can look through later. The Q&A feature is great for gathering audience questions without having someone running around with a microphone, people not being able to hear or being too nervous to speak up.
If you’re giving a longer talk, perhaps at a conference, breaking it up with quick quizzes or polls will help your audience both pay attention for longer and feel valued.
Once you’ve finished presenting, you can view your analytics and get a summary of the attendees as well as the results of any polls or surveys you conducted. You can review the engagement level, how many participants you had, what questions were asked and more. Sadly, I was the only participant at my first presentation!
The audience interface is clean and intuitive, it’s really easy to sign up and start interacting with the slides. This is what it looks like on my Android phone.
The audience can make their own private notes, download the slides, and respond to polls, quizzes and other interactive content.
Glisser review: Pros
Glisser has lots of positive, not the least the ability to get immediate feedback from your audience at any event. Having all your audience sign up means you get access to their email addresses so you can follow up on leads. Adding video, polls, documents and other media is really easy to do and works well. And it’s useful that, after the event, you can see a summary of all the interactions that occurred. Lastly, since the setup makes it so easy for attendees to share content from your presentation online, using Glisser might increase the amount of buzz your event creates and help ensure more people see your content.
Glisser review: Cons
There are a few cons, however. A big one for BrightCarbon is that animated slides are not supported. However, this won’t be a deal breaker for everyone. What might be is the fact that you can’t edit your slides in Glisser itself. So, if for some reason you need to edit a slide, you have to do it outside of Glisser (re-save as a PDF) and re-upload. This could be inconvenient especially if you’re working on your deck up to the last minute. You also can’t copy interactive content from one presentation to another, so if you want to use the same survey in multiple presentations, you’ll need to type it out again.
The push from Glisser to make presentation content interactive is great, and it definitely achieves that. I can see many companies benefiting from using the polling and comments/questions features at events and understand how it could be used to generate more sales leads. This kind of software can add value when used carefully and I can see it being fun way of keeping everyone engaged, particularly if you’re addressing a large audience. Just be careful not to neglect your actual presentation!Leave a comment
Principal consultant; Head of BrightCarbon AcademyView Kieran Chadha's profile
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