THE HELP DESK
Three Tools for Better Presentations
by Sophia Guevara
Recently, I prepared presentation content for a virtual conference. When I started, I was going to use PowerPoint, but I decided to reinforce the experience I’d already had developing presentation content with Sway. Sway is a Microsoft product that is available for free with a Microsoft account. Users can access it to help them deliver a business presentation or create a portfolio, resume, internal newsletter, etc. You can start from a Word document, PowerPoint, PDF, or even a blank Sway. There was a learning curve because I was so used to PowerPoint. But after creating my first Sway presentation, I was glad I stayed the course and finished the project. For those getting started on their first Sway, I encourage you to spend some time on the tutorials that can guide you in creating, adding, designing, and sharing content.
If you find that Sway isn’t for you, you may want to try Beautiful.ai. I am impressed with it so far. Beautiful.ai provides a free version as well as fee-based plans. Annual plans are billed at $12 per month for individuals or $40 per month per user for a group. Starting with the free account, I jumped right into the tutorial. I have to say that the tool allows me to build presentation slides in a more aesthetically pleasing way than I can do on my own.
The webpage for its Smart Slide Templates feature says, “Every presentation slide template is customizable, with endless variety and design options.” I think this feature is quite valuable for those who need to share ideas with other professionals but may not be confident enough in developing slides or accompanying images at a level that would positively impact the whole presentation. Beautiful.ai provides users with access to a variety of slides, including SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis, Gantt charts, bar graphs, and Venn diagrams.
I’m glad I found Beautiful.ai. I know that the templates and pictures available in this tool will help you make better-looking presentations going forward. That was certainly my experience.
So, we’ve discussed making your presentation more beautiful, but how about changing up the delivery? For that, I found a tool called TweetMySlides. If you take a look at the About page, it notes that the inspiration for this tool came from a tweet by writer Stewart Brand: “Slide deck as Tweet thread!” TweetMySlides lets you share PowerPoint slides as a Twitter thread. To test it, I decided to quickly develop a presentation using Beautiful.aiand download it in the required file format. The screenshot at the end of this paragraph shows you what my uploaded presentation looks like on my Twitter account. Within TweetMySlides, you can move around the order of the slides as needed or leave it the way it is. As you can see in the screenshot, each slide in my presentation was tweeted out with the slide number out of the total slides listed. People could use TweetMySlides to draw more attendees to their presentations by piquing their interest.
In the past, I have relied on sites such as SlideShare to disseminate my presentations. But I think that TweetMySlides could be another option for presenters who want to show their slides outside of the confines of a one-time session. If a slide is particularly important to a Twitter user, they can retweet it, like it, or comment on it. I wonder if Twitter users who employ TweetMySlides should expect an increase in followers if they regularly post their presentations as content on their Twitter account.