“My team has done two versions of Powerpoint Karaoke now over video conferencing… It’s worked really well and the engagement has always been high.”
Powerpoint Karaoke is a great way to connect with your remote team members.
Playing remotely is a little different than playing in person, so we’ve collected all of our remote-playing tips and suggestions below.
To play remotely you’ll need video-conference software. You can use whatever software you want, as long as it supports multiple participants, and lets you share your screen. Some good options include:
- Skype (free)
- Google Meet (free)
- Zoom (free/paid - group calls are limited to 40 minutes on the free tier)
How to organize the game
The event I ran was being done with a distributed team, over a Google Meet call. I was running the slides via screen sharing, and the presenter would see those slides at the same time as everyone else. It made for a very different team meeting!
The rules of the game are the same whether you play remotely or in-person. That being said, there are two main approaches for playing remotely:
|Starting the presentation||The organizer shares their screen and then launches the slideshow.||If your video-conference tool supports remote-control, the organize shares their screen, starts the presentation, and grants the presenter control (or have them request it).|
|Switching slides||The organizer advances the slides on a regular time-interval (like every 30 seconds). This can be manual or automated.||The presenter can switch slides by using their own arrow keys.|
|Switching presenters||The previous presenter mutes their mic and the new presenter unmutes.||The organizer grants the new presenter remote-access, and the presenter unmutes their mic.|
|Main benefits||Simpler. Less moving pieces.||The presenter has more control.|
There are also a couple variations to this approach, depending on what your software supports:
- Organizer-controlled variation:
- The organizer controls the slides, but the presenter gives a signal when they are ready to move on (like a 👍, or saying the word "next").
- Presenter-controlled variation:
- If your software doesn't support remote-control, you can send the slides to the presenter, right before they start presenting. This is easiest to do by sending a link to the online version of the slides (like Google Slides or Office 365), after they've started sharing their screen.
Whichever approach you use: Do a dry-run! Jump on a call with a coworker, and walk through the process so you aren’t figuring it out on the fly. During your dry-run, consider these questions:
- What video-conference features can you take advantage of? Remote-control? Keyboard shortcuts? Audience participation features?
- Which window, desktop, or monitor will you be sharing? (especially important if you have multiple monitors)
- Can you simplify the workflow by combining all the individual presentations into one continuous slide deck?
- Are there ways minimize exposure to the slides before a person starts presenting?
Tips for remote play
Microphones off, cameras on!
“[We played] remotely! It was sooo good. It’s important to make sure you can see everyone’s reactions.”
We recommend that the audience turn their microphones off, but keep their cameras on, because the game is more fun when you can see the audience respond. It’s nice to hear the audience too, but that can interfere with the presenter’s voice in many video-conference tools.
If your software supports a “tile view” of particpants, take advantage of it. The more faces everyone can see, the better.
“We recently started allowing people to submit questions during the presentation to the speaker, which the MC goes through after. This only leads to more laughter and allows the audience to be more engaged.”
Interaction makes it so everyone can participate, and remote tools provide a lot of ways for the audience to interact. Here are some ideas:
- Use a group chat channel so the audience can add commentary, capture funny quotes, and drop reactions in real time.
- Encourage questions from the audience! This gets everyone involved in the game. Have the presenter specify whether they want to take questions during the presentation, or at the end.
- After the last person has presented, have the audience vote for their favorite presenter. This can be done with a polling tool (like Zoom Polling or Google Forms) or by having each audience member send a chat message to the organizer. The organizer can then tally the votes and announce the winner. Tip: to ensure things end on a positive note, announce just the winner instead of sharing the full voting results.
Finding deliberate ways to connect with your team is especially important when they are remote. Powerpoint Karaoke is a small, fun, activity that can create a big impact.
Have you played Powerpoint Karaoke remotely? Let us know what what worked well for you, and we’ll include your ideas above. 👍