8 Handy Tools For Creating Standout Decks

467913The beauty of today is that every presenter now has an arsenal of resources to help build, design and deliver some of the best presentations the world has ever seen. Whether it’s finding fabulous photos, utilizing beautiful slide templates or better organizing your story and content, there’s an app or tool just a few strikes of the keyboard away.

If you haven’t equipped yourself, now is the time. Below you will find a breakdown of eight of my personal favorites:

1. Haiku Deck

If you are like me, you probably spend more time on your tablet or phone than on your actual laptop or desktop. Mobile is everything today, and if you are looking for a quick, easy, and affordable way to build and develop your next presentation, you need to check out Haiku Deck (available only on the iPad). If big visuals and minimal text are how you like to present, then you’ll love the simplicity and portability of the program. Haiku Deck is also integrated with SlideShare so that it’s easy to share your Haiku Deck on SlideShare.

2. Think Stock Photos

There are a plethora of photo resources out on the web today, and a few of my favorites are iStockPhoto.com, Fotolia.com and DreamsTime.com. However, I want to place special emphasis on one specific resource: ThinkStockPhotos.com. Why? The attraction for me and my team is simply about the pricing and selection. It’s definitely not the most robust photo library, but the cost is super competitive.

3. Pages

Perhaps you are the kind of person who likes to storyboard your presentation content? If so, download the program Pages from the Apple App Store (available in all formats) and look for the “Storyboard” template. You’ll be up and running in no time.

4. YouTube

If you are a student or work in the academic sector (where copyright issues are not of any concern), YouTube will quickly become your best friend. Think about that movie scene you wish you possessed or that television commercial that would accent your key point just perfectly. Enter YouTube. Just fire up Firefox or Chrome and look for the “YouTube Downloader” extension and download everything you need.

5. Prezi

Are you tired of PowerPoint, Keynote, or any other linear approach to presenting? If so, then Prezi may serve you well. Prezi is basically the closest thing to a non-linear approach to presenting. Think about the idea of scripting your narrative on a back of the napkin or whiteboard and then jumping from idea to idea to communicate your message. That’s the beauty of Prezi. Download your Prezi as a PDF, then upload it to SlideShare.

6. SoundBible

Every now and then you may find yourself needing a specific music bed or sound effect to highlight or accent a key concept. If that’s the case, bookmark SoundBible. It’s a fantastic audio resource. Plus, it’s free.

7. Evernote

Let’s say you want to capture a compelling quote from the latest book you are reading to add to your next presentation, but you have no idea where to record the information. That’s where Evernote can become your best ally. If you are not familiar with the program, it’s basically note-taking software that works seamlessly with the cloud and all of your devices. It’s a go-to program for me.

8. Lynda

In order to maintain your craft, you constantly need to be learning and growing. Perhaps you want to refine your Photoshop skills or learn Adobe After Effects? Join Lynda and start taking courses. It’s probably one of the best training resources on the web, and it’s for as little as $25/month.

Those are eight of my personal favorites. What about you? I would love to hear your recommendations below.

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, aNashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki.

9 Responses to “8 Handy Tools For Creating Standout Decks”

  1. SlideCaptain

    Thanks for your compilation, Scott!

    We are developing another great tool https://www.slidecaptain.com (public beta right now).

    Key features:
    - Well structured: organize your presentation into sections and pages (extraordinarily useful for large presentations or workshops)
    - Cloud integration: easily insert notes from Evernote, pictures from your favourite cloud service (e.g. Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Flickr, web search), videos from YouTube etc.
    - HTML5: runs in any recent browser, no need to install any apps or plugins
    - Easy sharing: just send a link via social networks or e-mail, embed into your blog or website, download as PDF (e.g. to put it up to SlideShare) etc.
    - Mobile friendly: while the editor is best used on a desktop / laptop, the presentations are fully responsive and can be viewed on mobile browsers

    Check it out :-)
    SlideCaptain

  2. Smaranda

    A bit of a pointless list unfortunately. Evernote? Lynda? C’mon. If you’re at the level where you need to know those things exist, then you’re certainly not aiming for “the best presentations the world has ever seen”. It means you’re stay at home Mom trying to make a presentation for your bakery class.

  3. Lauren W

    In response to Smaranda’s comments: I think this tool list is fantastic! Yes, I have heard and/or used some of them before, but not all of them. As an employee of a small business where everyone is busy wearing 12 different hats, I don’t have the time or expertise to explore a million different apps/sites on my own. It’s not just “stay-at-home baking moms” that are not as technologically fluent as you apparently are. I’m sure the list is useful to many of us. What I think it is “a bit pointless” is taking the time to comment on how pointless the list was!

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