New Tech Tools For Speakers

New products can help speakers to boost their presentations
New products can help speakers to boost their presentations
Image Credit: Peter (Tae-Young) Kim

As a speaker, I must confess that I can get pretty comfortable with the ways that things are. I use PowerPoint, I have an automatic slide advancer, and I know where to get royalty-free images. I have a bad habit of thinking that I know everything that I need to know I order to share the importance of public speaking. However, it turns out that time marches on. What this means is that things are always changing and that if I really want to stay on top of my speaking game, then I need to be aware of the new technology that has become available to me that will allow me to make my presentations even better. Let’s take a look at what I was not aware of.

Say Goodbye To The Printed Handout?

Having to remember to create printed handouts to distribute at my speeches has always been an issue for me. I have to figure out how many people are going to be there, print, hole punch, staple, and then remember to bring a lot of paper. When it turns out that I didn’t bring enough, I have to collect names and email addresses to send copies. I’ve always thought that there had to be a better way.

It turns out that there is a better way. What the top presenters are now doing is instead of lugging printed copies of their presentations along with them, they are instead providing their audience with access to online scrolling presentations. This is actually pretty simple to do. The speaker just needs to provide his or her audience with a link to their website where the audience will be able to view a scrolling copy of the slides that were presented during the speech. When you make your slides available to your audience using this technique, you will be able to keep your more interactive portions in your presentation. This will make the scrolling presentation experience more impactful for your audience.

Slide Designs Have Gone Flat

I must confess that this slide design technique is one that has sorta caught me off guard. It’s been around for a while, but I’ve been doing my best to resist it. At its heart, flat design is a minimalist approach that produces a clean slide design. A flat presentation contains simple images and visual messages. A flat design will eliminate flashy illustrations and other design decorations.

This always throws me for a bit of a loop. I really like trying to make as much of a given slide have shadows and other 3D effects. However, none of that works when you are trying to create a flat design for your slides. When a slide deck is designed using a flat design, there will be fewer 3D shadows behind images and more use of larger headlines that contain less text. When you are using the flat design approach, you need to keep in mind that simplicity rules this approach.

When A Slide Cap Is Not Really A Cap

One of the more annoying things that has started to happen when we show up to deliver a presentation is that the person who is hosting the event starts to put caps on how long we can talk for. This has always been an issue; however, lately it seems to have moved to a whole new level. I’m used to being told how long I have to present, but now I’m being told how many slides I can use. Generally the request is for me to keep it to between 5-10 slides. The unspoken message is that my audience is too busy to be distracted by anything that is longer than this.

As you can well imagine, I’m not too happy about this when it happens. The good news is that there are a number of different ways that you can go about dealing with it. The first question that you need to answer is if your presentation will fit into the time that that you’ve been allocated. If it will, then have a talk with the person who is in charge of the event and explain to them that in order to communicate your message you are going to have to use more than the allocated number of slides. If they still say no, then you can bring handouts along to provide your audience with the information that you won’t be able to present to them.

What All Of This Means For You

As much as I hate to admit it, progress moves on. The skills and techniques that I have been using to make my presentations have served me well, but the times they are a changing. What this means is that I need to take the time to stay aware of what new tools and techniques are becoming available so that I can start to use them to share the benefits of public speaking. I need to make sure that my presentations stay current so that my audiences can get the most out of them.

One of the characteristics of how we used to give presentations was the printed handout. We’d bring copies of our slides and distribute them to everyone in the audience. Those days are quickly coming to an end. Going forward presenters are going to be making online scrolling presentations that will allow their audiences to once again experience the slides as they were initially presented to them. At the same time, the format of the slides that we’ve been creating is starting to change. A popular new format is the flat format. This format does away with 3D and flashy effects and presents a simpler slide with large, sparse titles. Speakers are often limited on the amount of time that we have to make our presentation; however, lately event organizers have also been trying to limit the number of slides that we use. We need to talk with these organizers and tell them that we’ll fit into their time, but we’ll use as many slides as we want to.

Change is something that none of us have a lot of control over. As presenters we need to understand that the tools and techniques that we use to deliver a presentation are always constantly evolving. We have an obligation to stay up on these changes so that our speeches can always make use of the latest tools in order to help us provide our audience with the most powerful message possible.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Can you think of a situation in which a flat slide technique would not work well with a speech topic?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated. P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!   Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we give a speech, we want to accomplish something. We want to be effective in using the importance of public speaking to get our audience to start to look at their world just a little bit differently. We want our words to have connected with them and caused them to open their eyes just a little bit more so that they can see the world around them in a different light. When we give this type of presentation we generally use slides and those slides are going to have to help us to accomplish our goal. How are we going to make this happen?