Resources for extraordinary presentations

Author: Andrew Letnitskiy
Old-fashioned and monotonous presentations mean that the amount of time spent on them was not enough. They also indicate the triumph of laziness.

In this article you will find a number of links to make your next presentation awesome!

§1 The Structure

Mind Mapping
  • XMind is the most popular mind mapping software. It has a free PC version.. You can also buy a premium account but I wouldn't say it is absolutely necessary, as light version is quite sufficient. It is convenient, easy and effective.
  • MindMeister is a professional mind mapping software. Allows teamwork.
Draughting the text, ideas and talking points for a public performance
You can very well use MS Word or Google Documents if you like working with them. However if you are looking for alternatives, here they are:

  1. Evernote is an app that makes notes from texts, images, and other media files. These notes are sync on all devices. You can share them with your colleagues and comment on them together.

OneNote is a kind of a notepad. You can make any notes you like, create sketches and add images to them. Working in a team is also possible

    §2 Design

    Learning to make storyboards
    Here you won't really need any resources.

    Although, you do need to use several things. They are a sheet of paper and a pencil. You don't have to be a professional artist. No need to be an artist at all, to be honest. Storyboards are timesaving means: you already know what illustration you would need, what would the layout look like and how many slides there would be even before you have opened PowerPoint. You may want to change something at the stage of design, and it is absolutely fine if the storyboard and the final result do not match. What matters is that you have a starting point, a prototype - your storyboard. Here are several examples:


    Looking for images and photos
    • Flickr is a huge imagebase with millions of pics for your slides. The search is easy to use and there are always plenty of suitable options. There are both free and paid content.
    • Pixabay stores images and videos that meet every need. A convenient advanced search helps to discard unwanted options. And it is absolutely free.
    • Shutterstock is yet another imagebase. They have recently implemented a feature of searching by images, i.e. you are uploading a picture of an elephant and it searches for similar pictures of elephants on the net. We do recommend you to add this website to the favourites list.
    • Unsplash has free colourful inspiring photos in high resolution that were taken by professional photographers gathered in one place. You can search for what you need by categories.
      Increasing the resolution
      TinEye is the tool that increases the quality of your images. It's simple: just upload an image in a poor quality, and the service finds the same image but in a good quality. Then you save a suitable option and voila! It is a wonderful tool.







      It is worth to note, though, that looking for a high quality picture from the very beginning would save you plenty of time.
        Selecting the fonts
        • Fontstorage is a big free font base. The main page offers to choose one of the four types of fonts (sans serif, serif, decorative and mono-spaced) in case you already know what you are looking for. A search bar allows you to look for a font using its name.
        • Fontsquirrel is much more appreciated. One of the reasons for that may be Its overly detailed filter, or perhaps the convenience of the service. Actually, both of these facts are true. We recommend using this source to look for inspiring fonts.
        • AllFont suggests you several most popular fonts right away, based on the number of downloads. Some of them are really worth looking at. A creative filter that is on a sidebar to your right, can meet the needs of the most demanding users. It is. of course, free of charge.
          Matching the colours
          Adobe Color CC and Coolors are two easy to use websites that choose beautiful combinations of colours and allow you to create some of your own. And if you go to the "Explore" tab, you can find ready colour-schemes made by other users.
          Choosing the icons
          • Iconfinder contains 2 millions of icons that meet every need. You just enter your query into the search bar and choose the most fitting one. On the left there is a simple filter where you can set the parametres starting with the icon's format and up to its background colour. I advise you to use it, as It has often saved my life.
          • Flaticon has almost 4 times less icons. However, we do remember that quality is far more important than the volumes. At least, this rule applies to designing slides. And here the quality really is overwhelming. Based on the request and the filter settings, you get both free and paid (Selection и Premium) options and an opportunity to choose the background colour. When you open a suitable icon, you can choose its format, colour, and size. As you can see, it is a very handy tool.
          • Freepik has many interesting and stylish versions of icons, photos, and vector images. All of that is aligned into categories.
            Perfecting graphs and charts
            Diagrammer is a source created by one of the leading companies in the field of making presentations. It is a base of simple and attractive schemes, that can easily substitute standard PowerPoint templates, built into a website.The best thing about it is that you download the schemes in .pptx file format, open them via PowerPoint and just insert your data. You don't waste any time "drawing" the graphs and charts. Everything has already been done for you.
            Looking for inspiration
            • Morphbook is an e-book with plenty of examples and advice on how to make your presentation more successful and attracting. We are proud to say that this is our own original work.
            • SlideShare is the biggest online slide gallery. It has everything: the dos and don'ts, small presentations and the ones with over a hundred slides, and also editorials which you may find both interesting and useful.
            • Note&Point contains a selection of elite presentations. You will not find any bad solutions in them, but the range is not that wide. Just let your eyes rest from all the "excruciating" slides.
            • Pinterest is a social network where you can upload, share, save various articles, recipes, images, and generally any ideas on topics from cooking to graphic design.

              §3 The speech

              Rehearsing the speech
              • Hronomer is a very useful service that helps to determine how much time you will spend narrating the written text.
              • Pitcherific builds up your speech right in the browser tab, and helps to create a template based on the presentation topic. Here you can set the time limit for your speech or set a timer.
                Engaging the audience
                • Sli.do is a service that allows the audience to ask questions using text messages inside the app. This way if the time is limited, the presenter may answer only the most relevant questions. It also allows to display what the audience thinks about the presentation. For the audience this app takes away the problem of being too embarrassed to ask a question or express an opinion, as it supports the incognito mode.
                • Zoho Show Time is an app where anyone from the audience can mark the slides they liked, or take part in a poll and leave their feedback.The app's analytics estimates how much time was spent on each slide and the overall presentation's grades rate. When answering the questions from the audience, the presenter can highlight the most relevant parts of the presentation with a marker right on the slide. This software is free and works well with PowerPoint and PDF.
                  Watching good public performances
                  • TED is the biggest conference platform in the world. Here you can find professional public speakers, businessmen, politicians, doctors, as well as ordinary people who want to share their unique stories. It is safe to say that everyone already knows about TED by now. If you haven't heard about them yet, hurry up and go to ted.com right now.
                  • Toastmasters is an international non-commercial organization that aims at developing the skills of communication, public speaking and leadership among its members. The company carries out world championships in public speaking, where winning is the grand prize itself. The prizes don't matter, the speeches do. And trust me, there are many people we can learn from. You can borrow the speakers' manners, gestures, ways of speaking. Perhaps you may find some interesting techniques that can complement to your style of presentation. Moreover, you can attend Toastmasters' clubs from this list.

                    That's it

                    Save this list somewhere, or bookmark this article to make your life easier. At least the part you spend making presentations


                    Wishing you memorable slides and inspirational performances!



                    Recommended articles