For many of us, making presentations has become an integral part of the job profile — be it to clients, colleagues or managers. And just as a book is often judged by its cover, we are, more often than not, judged by how we say things.Presentations, these days, involve more than simply running a series of PowerPoint slides. This week, we look at three tools that can help you wow your audience.
1. Slides [www.slides.com]
It gives you a layout very similar to a graphic editor but lets you build your own presentations. You can upload your own images and use transition styles very similar to PowerPoint, and add slides in multiple directions so you can show them depending on the preference of your audiences. You can also add complex web code that will let you access a database or a separate app.
It is just what a techie would want, thanks to its open-ended interface.
You cannot search for web images or insert a video with a single click but if your presentation relies on live data coming from another database, the web page with a video can be embedded. The app is available for free and makes all your presentations public. There are also paid plans, starting at Rs 4,320 per annum ($72). Slides can be cur rently accessed via a browser and you can export a presentation only in the paid plan.
2. Haiku Deck [www.haikudeck.com]
You can download this iPad application absolutely free of cost or sign up for a free account using your web browser. There are six different presentation templates -- choose one, and you can add or craft your slides. Adding pictures is even simpler. You can either upload a picture of your choice or use a built-in search function to get images from across the web that can be used in your presentations. Lay out the text, make graphs, add your slide notes and you are good to go. The app allows you to use large font sizes. What you cannot do is add videos to your slides.
In case you have the iPhone and want to control a presentation running off your iPad, the app lets you do the same as well. Do not have the iPad or don’t want to hook it up? You can share your presentation on social media sites, email the link to your colleagues, or even download it as a PPT or a PDF File, using the Haiku Deck.
The presentations are stored on the cloud at the Haiku Deck server, which enables you to build your presentation from various devices.
3. Prezi [www.prezi.com]
This is also available for iPhones, iPads and the Web and your presentations are stored on the cloud. This does a little more than Haiku Deck. Once you have set up your account, you have to choose between the "free" account where all your presentations are available for the public and a "basic" account that is free for the first 30 days. It then costs Rs 3,540 per annum ($59.40) for the basic to Rs 9,540 ($159) for the "pro" version. There are even more versions for large teams, which also lets you make your presentations private.
Once the account is set-up you can choose from various templates or start with a blank presentation.
Prezi also works in a zoom in, zoom out way. Each of your slides is a circle that is connected to the central point. When you share an idea and start presenting, it comes up in a unique way on the screen. You can search for images from the web or upload your own, and add videos, sounds, music, as well as other symbols and arrows to design your presentation.
In fact, the video actually comes in as a link to a YouTube video, and your presentation is always served from the cloud. Prezi files can be downloaded as PDFs and you can also share the link of your presentation on social media.
Verdict: The Microsoft PowerPoint on a Windows PC and the Apple Keynote on a Mac and iPad are still the big daddies of presentation-making. There is also Google Docs that one can use, but there’s no harm to add some bit of colour to your presentation. So the next time you are looking to do something unconventional, use one of these tools to liven up your work.