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Death by PowerPoint? 5 Programs to Bring Your Presentations to Life

Death by PowerPoint? 5 Programs to Bring Your Presentations to Life

Many of us have sat through countless PowerPoint presentations, waiting and wishing for them to end. Why? Honestly, the presentations are mind-numbingly boring! But when you need to give a presentation and want to avoid the blank stares and awkward yawns, here are five programs you can use that can help breathe life into it.

1. Knovio

www.knovio.com

    Knovio

    is a free, easy-to-use program that allows you to bring your presentations to life by adding video or audio. With Knovio you can take your existing PowerPoint slides and easily add your own video or audio to synchronize with the slide content. You can then share this presentation by e-mail or social media. The best thing about Knovio is that whether your presentation is for business, educational or personal use, you are not limited in the number of videos you create under your free account.

    Check out this video to see how Knovio works:

     

    Helpful hint: Knovio can be an extremely powerful tool in circumstances where you want to deliver a strong digital presentation, but still use a PowerPoint presentation for your delivery. I have used Knovio remotely to give presentations for which I was unavailable in person to present the material. 

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    2. Prezi

    Prezi

      Prezi

      allows you to create presentations in a highly engaging and dynamic way. Prezi creates animated presentations, though instead of creating a series of slides with typical presentation programs, you put all of your content on a single canvas. You trace a path from one item to another until you cover everything in your canvas. When the presentation begins, the browser zooms in the first item you created in your path, then out and back in again to the next item in the path. This continues for each remaining item, until it reaches the end of the path.

      Prezi is a little more complex to use, but the online program definitely accommodates not-so-tech-savvy individuals. Prezi is accessible for free, but for limited use. Under the free membership you are entitled to only 100MB of storage space, which is enough for only a few presentations, and all your Prezis will be marked public. Only paid versions of Prezi receive more storage space, amenities and the option to make your presentations private.

      Here’s an explanation of how Prezi works:

       

      Helpful hint: Prezi can be a more refreshing way to deliver a presentation still covering the content used within a traditional PowerPoint presentation. Many of the premade templates are very professional looking, and the transitions are more attention grabbing than traditional PowerPoint presentations. I have used Prezi when I know that I am going to be presenting to a “tough” crowd and I want to be sure to keep their attention.

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      3. PowToon

      www.powtoon.com

        Looking for an “out-of-the-box”  way of presenting your presentations? PowToon is the program for you. PowToon is video animation software that makes creating engaging, interesting and exciting animated videos extremely easy. You can create an amazing animated presentation without needing design or technical skills.

        Worried that PowToon is hard to use? The PowToon program is extremely similar to creating a PowerPoint presentation, the only major difference is that you have the ability to add animation and timing to your slides. It’s that easy. PowToon is free for limited use. In the free version, you can create as many videos as you want, but your videos can only be five minutes in length. In addition, the PowToon logo will be in your presentation. If you want a longer or logo-free presentation, you can purchase a premium version PowToon for an annual fee.

        Here’s the instructional video showing how PowToon works:

         

        Helpful hint: PowToon should be used more as an introduction or conclusion to a presentation. Although PowToon is an innovative tool for presentations, it may be hard to put a lot of content into them. I use PowToon when I want to present an overall theme or topic during my presentation, and I use it more as a supplement – or my “wow” factor. I find that creating one is a little more time consuming than I would like, so I try not to make them too long.

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        4. Hakiu Deck

        Haiku Deck

          Haiku Deck is the Instagram of presentations. Haiku Deck allows users to be more creative in the presentation-making process by its versatility with text and pictures. Users will find that this platform is easy to navigate, and that you have the option to work web free with a computer or from a free iPad application.

          Once you have completed your presentation, you are able to make your “deck” public, restricted or private. You are able generate a PDF or convert it into a PowerPoint presentation. You are also able to share your deck on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress and through e-mail. You also have the option to copy the link or html and insert it into a website. With all of these sharing options, Haiku Deck is becoming the new way to create online presentations.

          Check out this video to see how Haiku Deck works:


          Helpful hint: If you feel limited with PowerPoint and feel the need to express yourself more, Hakiu Deck will give you that outlet. I like the flexibility of being able to work seamlessly from your iPad to your computer. And for those people who have a strong social media presence or travel often, this is the go-to program for you.

          5. Emaze

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          emaze

            Emaze presentations are simply amazing. Emaze, by far, has some of the best templates of all presentation programs out there. Templates range from a newspaper article to something that looks like it came out of a commercial. In addition, the Emaze website offers a tutorial before users begin to create their presentation, something that many other presentation programs do not offer. Emaze is free for limited use, or you can upgrade to a basic, pro or business version for a monthly rate.

            What makes this different from other presentation programs is the ability to collaborate on a presentation. Users have the ability to password protect their presentation and invite others through e-mail to collaborate. When your presentation is complete, you have the ability to e-mail, link and embed your presentation, or share your presentation on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

            Here’s how Emaze works:

             

            Helpful hint: Emaze is one of the best tools to use for digital collaboration on projects. It’s a great tool for projects that require group work.

            Featured photo credit: Tom Everitt via flic.kr

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            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

            Joe’s Goals

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              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

              Daytum

                Daytum

                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                Excel or Numbers

                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                  Evernote

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                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                    Access or Bento

                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                      Conclusion

                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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