What is the Future of Presentation Software?

We communicate with texts and tweets. We update our friends with our current status on facebook, control video games with our body movement and watch movies on our telephones. When I can do a quick interview, put a video on YouTube, upload it for the local/national news, and embed it on any blog in a very short time…I wonder – what is the future of presentation software? I’m not suggesting that a video replaces a presentation – but does our audience expect more than a set of slides to accompany our talks?

In the video above, I asked Matt Long – a participant in a local competition – to help me with a short promo for the event. The result was a little piece that the news, weather channels, etc. could run almost immediately. This experience made me think about the ways I presented in the past vs the tools available today. As an ex-salesperson, I wondered…how would I make presentations to my most important clients now? We can make presentations on the internet without traveling – but they still tend to be static slides. Are we using the available technology effectively?

If I want to share an idea with you, in just a few minutes using very affordable hardware and software – a camera and After Effects (or Movie Maker or iMovie or YouTube editing tools…), I can create a message. Just like using PowerPoint – the message can be well or badly done, but the format helps to engage.

I’d love to hear from expert presenters and consultants –

    – what tools are you using now, and what will you be using in the future?
    – has the latest version of PowerPoint (which allows a bit of text over video at least) made this tool viable for the future?

How should be thinking about our presentations? Are we using the right technology if we stay with the tools we know? I do know that a video is far more likely to be engaging than a series of slides with bullets. Can we harness that and make more effective presentations?

I’ve been presenting since the days of writing on transparencies and overhead projectors. From Harvard Graphics to the latest version of PowerPoint – the tools have always seemed to shape the message. I don’t blame PowerPoint like some do. I just wonder if we can get past how easy it is to follow the dots to boring and use our tools in a more effective way. At a time when self published video is so accessible, when a plethora of easy to use software presentation platforms are available, is PowerPoint still relevant?

If it is, how do we make a leap to the kind of engaging experience we have all come to expect? What’s your opinion?

Top 20 resources for traveling presenters

If you spend enough time on the road making presentations, there are a few resources you’re bound to need at one time or another. Following is my top 20 list of links for the road:

Where’s my stuff?
Track that important package online at:

FedEx
UPS
Airborne/DHL

I need it now!
Run out of paper, ink, pens… Need stamps, copies or a presentation bound? Find the nearest:
Kinkos / FedEx Office
Office Depot
US Post Office

Destination Information
Get the latest weather information anywhere at NOAA
Get the maps and driving directions you need at Mapquest
Get the Zipcode

Need Your News?
Links for online news:

PBS
NPR – listen online, from anywhere!
CSPAN
BBC
From the Independent Media Institute, an alternative view of the news.
Headline news, right now.CNN
News and Finance up to the minute at Reuters
Quick market news at Yahoo Finance

Airlines

The FAA provides current links to all US airlines, so if you need to book a flight online or check out the customer service policy of an airline, go here. The thing that’s nice about this site is you get all the links on one page…so if you’re looking for options, this is the place.
Want to know the rules for lost baggage, ticket refunds, overbooking and delays? Everything from the agency that enforces the rules, the DOT Consumer Protection Site.

WI-FI

Stay connected, find wi-fi hotspots when you travel.
Here’s another source forfree wireless connectivity.
Here’s a list of airports with free wireless

Do you have links you use frequently when traveling for business or vacation? Leave a comment.

Add Symbols to Your Presentation…¢®Ω

You can easily add non-keyboard symbols to your presentation without the Windows Character Map. See our tip below on quickly adding symbols like, ©, ™, ¢ and graphical symbols from Wingdings and Webdings.

You can insert symbols not on the keyboard by placing your cursor in a placeholder and choosing Insert/Symbols or by clicking on the Symbols button.
insert symbols into powerpointchoose the symbol
Select the symbol you want and click Insert.
choose a symbol to insert

Your selected symbol will appear at the point where your cursor was placed.
click insert

If you frequently use Symbols, add the Symbols button to your toolbar for easy access to symbols like ©, ™, ¢. You can also access alternate bullets, wingdings, webdings, etc.

Download free backgrounds

Free for your personal presentations, backgrounds for any presentation software. These designs are in .JPG format, so you can use them with any software that displays images. The download includes 3 .JPG slide backgrounds in a zip file. The abstract designs work for inspirational, sales or classroom presentations.
Download these free PowerPoint backgrounds in a single zip file.

free powerpoint background free background download background download for your presentation
flickr slideshow

Do You Use Flickr Slide Shows?

A friend asked me to make some photos of a rental house she owns and post them on the web. She had prospective renters in Canada and wanted them to see the photos right away. Since this was a tour of the house and yard, we wanted a slide show – not just random images – to intice the prospective tenants. I uploaded the photos into an existing installation of Coppermine Photo Gallery that was on one of my web sites to provide a slide show of her house. Coppermine is free software, and I already had it installed on my server. (Installing and maintaining Coppermine isn’t for the faint of heart., so it wouldn’t really be my preferred solution for a quick, temporary slide show.)

The need for a fast slide show came up again when I was shooting photos of an event on Siesta Key beach – The Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition. I needed a to post some photos really quickly during the event, so I chose Flickr. Many of you probably already use Flickr to post your favorite photos, and know that you can just email a link to your family or friends. Linking to or embeding a slide show turned out to be incredibly easy as well.

If you group your photos into sets, it’s simple to share a slide show of a particular set. I uploaded a group of photos of the sculptors doing a group carve and organized them into a set on Flickr.

Then going to my photostream and clicking on the thumbnail of that set,  I chose the slideshow option at the top right of the page.

flickr slideshow

That brought up a slideshow of the set. Then by clicking SHARE at the top right of the slideshow, I was presented with the option to grab a link to the page or to embed the slideshow.

how to embed a flickr slideshow

By inserting the embed code into this post, I got the slideshow you see below. You could do the same with any web page or in an e-mail.









Of course you can also run your slideshow directly from within Flickr on your computer. But I started thinking – why not use the same process to make other slide shows? For example – if you have content (photos, screen captures, or even PowerPoint slides exported as jpgs) you would like to share with someone as a slide show, just upload it to Flickr. Make a set, and set the privacy settings as needed. If it is public, anyone can view your show. If you prefer to limit who can see it, just set the privacy for “Only Friends” and send an invitation to the individual(s) you want to see your slides.

It’s easy, free and your viewers don’t need any special software – only an internet connection. If you set permissions so your friends can comment – you can collaborate on your content, too. Do you have more experience with Flickr slide shows to share? Leave a comment.

Quickly Now! PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts for Speed

Take note of these time saving keyboard shortcuts for PowerPoint. Find the right keystrokes for building presentations and for making them.
Helpful shortcuts while preparing a presentation

  • CTRL+N: Create a new presentation
  • CTRL+K: Insert a hyperlink
  • F7: Check spelling
  • CTRL+Z: Undo an action
  • CTRL+Y: Redo or repeat an action
  • ALT+F4: Quit PowerPoint
  • CTRL+M: Insert a new slide
  • CTRL+D: Copy selected slide
  • Continue reading

Join the Community

Join the Presenters’ Resource community now and get more free templates, backgrounds, videos and themes for your presentations. When you join, we’ll send you occasional e-mails with links to free file downloads for your personal use in presentations.

Examples of just a few of the currently available downloads are shown here:

free powerpoint template download free presentation background download
Free HD Template Free Template in High Definition

Community members get new tutorials and tips, special offers and free samples. We won’t fill up your mailbox or share your information with any third party. You can opt out at any time.  Join our community now, and you’ll get both the current downloads as well as ongoing e-mails with new downloads and offers.