I must admit that I prefer to have a tonsillectomy or root canal, as opposed to watching a verbose slide deck created in PowerPoint. Don’t get me wrong, PowerPoint is a great tool. The problem is people have engaged in what I’d consider to be, almost criminal activity as they’ve butchered its true intent.
Although I am still a fan of vanilla PowerPoint for the creation of presentations, my preference is to dig deeper and seek out options that will help me to engage my audience to a greater extent. I take great pride in ensuring non one in my audience nods off when I’m presenting. Part of my method involves changing things up from time to time, by leveraging third-party tools.
In today’s technology landscape, the great news is there is always an abundance of new tools to consider using. The downside is some of these tools go away almost as quickly as they arrive. I guess the important thing is not to get too terribly attached to any of them and continue to experiment with what the latest tools have to offer.
Let’s take a look at four such tools that are free and/or won’t break the budget. The tools we’ll introduce have something unique to offer that will help to drive home your message during presentations.
a. What does it cost? Free trial version is available and a company version is offered as low as $14 per month with an annual subscription
b. What does it do best? It enables a non-designer to create infographics easily
c. Why would I use it? If you want to net out a story in a concise manner, this is a great option
d. How might I use it? You could use it as the sole graphic in your entire presentation by zeroing in on each area of your infographic across the span of your presentation. Alternatively, you could use it as a handout at the start or end of your presentation, in order to provide your attendees a reference to the material in the future.
a. What does it cost? Free version is available, although their full version options require payment. Full featured options run from $19 to $65 per month.
b. What does it do best? Turns survey data into something dynamic and exciting. It also integrates with Survey Monkey.
c. Why would I use it? If you want to get beyond regurgitating static survey data and the typical pie chart, this is a great way to do it
d. How might I use it? You could include key graphics in a presentation to a group of leaders or employees, in an effort to make your presentation more visually interesting. Alternatively, you might wish to use the tool to put together a summary of key findings from your survey as a handout.
a. What does it cost? Free version is available, although full version options require payment. Individual pricing is $9.99 a month or an annual professional membership is $99 for the year.
b. What does it do best? Enables you to create a streamlined presentation using a variety of media (.pdf, presentations, video, audio clips, etc.)
c. Why would I use it? If you want to look like you’ve got it together and not create interruptions while you try to figure out how to, for example, to get that YouTube video playing in the middle of your presentation, you will want to use this.
d. How might I use it? If you have a presentation that includes the use of multiple formats and tools, this is the perfect option to package it all together in a way that enables you to focus on the presentation, not technology glitches.
e. Other notes: There is a mobile app for SlideDog called Remote that allows you to control the presentation and even view your speaking notes.
a. What does it cost? Free version is available, although full version options require payment. A basic account is $3.33 a month and prices rise from there. Team accounts of up to 5 people start at just over $20 a month.
b. What does it do best? Allows you to create diagrams, flowcharts, org charts, and more in a very simplistic way.
c. Why would I use it? If your IT department is like most, they’ll tell you Visio is way too expensive for the casual user. Even if they agreed to buy it for you, the next step would be to learn the application. Lucid chart doesn’t break the bank, nor does it require you to take 40 hours of education just to get started.
d. How might I use it? If you want to add charts to your presentations, such as a flow chart to communicate a new business process, here is a great tool to leverage and get the task done swiftly.
e. Other notes: Available in Google Apps. Your IT administrator can create a team account, which would allow for collaboration as well. Go to the website to learn more.