Friday, May 14, 2010

Presentations & visuals: 7 tools, tips and traps from my inbox

This week, I got all sorts of virtual tugs on my sleeve to share presentation tools, particularly about PowerPoint, a topic not often covered here on The Eloquent Woman. But so many mentions, good tips and recommendations came across my desk, I thought I'd share what's in my inbox with you:
  1. Converting PDFs to PowerPoint?  An easy-to-use tool is recommended by regular reader Sarah Glassman, who writes that she uses PowerPoint every day.  She calls this "a helpful and free online tool," and found it on, a site about conversions recommended by her students.
  2. Freepath is a new tool that lets you mix Microsoft Word documents, video, audio, live websites and PDFs with PowerPoint slides, using drag-and-drop technology.  You can find a free demo on their site to try.
  3. If you're crafting an ambitious chart for your slides, first read this post, "Imagine a Pie Chart Stomping on an Infographic Forever," and check out its showcase of bad infographics before yours get out of control.  A long and thorough post, but a worthy read.
  4. This set of 5 tips for visualizing data come from David McCandless of the website and book Information is Beautiful, via the Online Journalism blog.  Heed number 4 -- "all graphs, charts and infographics should be self-sufficient."  If you're struggling with how to explain your chart, it's not self-sufficient.
  5. But wait, you say. I don't want to dumb down my presentation.  Of course not. But clarity and simplicity aren't the same as dumbing it down, and Olivia Mitchell's recent post on the topic does a great job of breaking down the differences and showing you the right path.
  6. UnMarketing blog's 30 quick tips for speakers (now 35!) gives a frequent speaker's short but essential presentations tips, which include keeping slides in their place as just one part of what you are presenting. Good inspiration, with 5 extra tips added by readers.
  7. Okay, you've got your visuals. At a loss for just the right word?  WordFinder's a tool that can help you (as well as your crossword-solving friends) move it from the tip of your tongue to the front of your mind.
It's gratifying that Librarian By Day included this post in her weekly roundup of links she's shared on Twitter, calling The Eloquent Woman "my new favorite blog."  Thanks!
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Allison Wood said...

Hi Denise - Thanks for another valuable post. Have you ever heard of a presentation tool called Prezi? It's probably not for everyone, but it's a very cool meld of mind-mapping, Powerpoint and vector-based art programs. Easy to learn and use, really original and it's free! Check it out at

eloquentwoman said...

Allison, I'm a big Prezi fan and use it in lieu of other programs (unless specifically asked not to do so) for my own presentations...I find it most flexible and fun for the audience. Glad you like it, too.