Thanks to flashy tools, you can compose and distribute business slide shows online in novel ways.
You may have heard about Google’s web-based presentation tool, where several collaborators can work on a slide deck simultaneously in real time (docs.google.com). Here are other ways to give your bullet points added impact:
1. Podcast a presentation with ProfCast.
How it works: Drag the presentation to the ProfCast application icon and deliver the talk live into a microphone. ProfCast syncs slides with the audio and converts slide titles into “chapters.” Then it saves files for playback on PCs, Macs and iPods.
Drawbacks: It doesn’t record video. It runs only on Macs. Price: $59.95.
2. Create quick graphics with simple-to-use SmartDraw2008.
How it works: The desktop software, made for nondesigners, has templates and automated design help, letting you create maps and “chartoons” (USA Today-style infographics). Price: Individual licenses cost $297 each.
3. Run free web conferences with Dimdim (www.dimdim.com).
How it works: You don’t need to install anything on your computer or network to get a web conference with audio, chat and video. You also can track what you’ve presented to customers. Price: Free.
4. Put video alongside a presentation with Zentation.
How it works: The free tool lets online viewers simultaneously watch your slides and a video of you referencing them. Simply videotape the presentation and upload it. Then post the work on Zentation.com.
Drawbacks: Synchronizing the video with the changing slides needs to be done manually. Keeping a presentation private (secure) costs money. Price: Free.
5. Set up a basic web presentation with Spresent (www.spresent.com).
How it works: Say colleagues in remote offices need to view slides during a conference call. This software allows you to do that, without setting up a web conference or e-mail presentation. Price: The web version is free. The desktop version costs $29.95.