Three and a half years ago I wrote a blog post bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t get presenters to modify their speaking habits when asking me to display their next slide.
Three years later, someone named Sam submitted a comment on that post. He said co-presenters can control slides remotely and never again have to say “Next slide please.” All you have to do is use something available at www.slidesclicker.com.
Sure, pal. I’ve had people try to advertise their stuff in thinly veiled comments before. I usually don’t pay it much mind. But recently I decided to go ahead and take a look. Damn it… The thing actually works! Almost exactly as I want it to! For a reasonable price!
Let’s review the use case scenario. We’ll say I’m using Zoom or GoToWebinar or another screen-share based web conferencing platform. I lead off as moderator with a few introductory slides. Then another presenter takes over. Maybe there is yet another speaker. Today I did a webinar with four panelists each presenting their section of the presentation, then handing back to me again to moderate Q&A and close out the session. That’s five people and six handoffs of slide control. Trust me, you do NOT want to mess with swapping screen share to each person in turn. They show the wrong screen, don’t start at the right slide, have a different aspect ratio on their monitor, or just introduce an unavoidable interruption in the smooth flow of information as they check whether we can see their screen after the handoff.
So instead, I show the entire presentation for everyone, advancing the slides for them. The audience hears a boring repetition of “Next slide, next slide, next slide.” And Lord help you if the PowerPoint is fancy and has builds or animation effects that need to be clicked at the right time.
Enter SlidesClicker… As host, I install it as a desktop app on my computer (Windows or Mac). I open my PowerPoint (or Keynote, Google Slides, Prezi, Libre, Visme, vMix, Zoho, Canva…) in slide show mode. I open the SlidesClicker app and see a screen giving me a Meeting ID:
I can copy the link and email it to my presenters or I can invite them through the app:
Each invited presenter gets a simple link that opens in their web browser. No install needed. It can run on a desktop or smartphone (people love it on their phone):
They tap the green box and the slide moves forward on my computer. They tap the red box and it moves backwards. Simplicity itself.
“But,” I hear you cry, “If they all have control, don’t they end up all hitting the controls at once, causing chaos?”
Aha! SlidesClicker thought of that. As host, I can enable and disable functionality for each presenter:
So I can let each person control the slides only when they are speaking.
SlidesClicker also built in an option to help prevent accidental double-clicks. When they tap a button, there is a one-second delay before they can tap again. This auto-delay can be turned off if you want presenters to be able to rapidly click through a bunch of slides (for instance, during Q&A to return to a previously mentioned slide).
If you are a GoToWebinar power user, you might be unimpressed at the moment. “GoToWebinar lets me give remote panelists control of my screen right inside the software!” SlidesClicker is far preferable for two reasons:
1) The ONLY control that remote presenters have on your computer is limited to advancing/regressing slides. They can’t drive your mouse and randomly click around your desktop.
2) SlidesClicker doesn’t care where your mouse focus is. You can be merrily typing away in a Chat window, answering an email, or playing solitaire while SlidesClicker feeds the slide advance commands to the presentation software.
There are a few other features that are thrown in with the higher cost subscription option, such as an optional countdown timer to let a presenter know how much time they have left in their section. Or a way to send text messages through the app. The one I’m really keen on seeing is a promised “Coming Soon” feature that is supposed to let the remote presenter see slide notes in PowerPoint or Keynote on their display.
But honestly, this is a gift from heaven for me as a moderator working with many different remote presenters. I bought the “Premium” license that includes the enable/disable presenter control and countdown timer. That costs $56/year. If you don’t care about those features, you can get down to a basic rate of $33/year.