From a high-stakes sales call to a keynote broadcast around the world, top-notch speakers rely on a presentation toolkit filled with their favorite resources — both hands-on tools and those that are a bit more intangible. Here’s a peek at my Top 5 favorites for the former:
1. A Reliable Timer
I have a timer handy at every stage of the presentation process — from my initial cold read through practice and delivery. That way, I can refine my content during practice to fit my timeframe, then glance down during my presentation to see how much time remains and adjust on the fly as needed. I like the West Bend digital timer because its keypad lets you punch in your allotted time and countdown, or simply hit “start” to keep a running clock. Easy to use and reasonably priced. Of course, you could always use your phone, just be careful not to drain your battery.
2. Affordable Photo Resources
When looking for the perfect image to capture the essence of your message, check out Fotolia. With a searchable library of professional images — photos, illustrations, even video clips — and pricing as low as $1.00, you don’t have to break the bank to project a million-dollar image. The site allows you to buy and bank credits, or register for a monthly subscription plan. Similar resources can be found at iStock and Jupiter Images. Or check out Meredith Communications’ list of free and paid stock photo resources here.
3. Online Teleprompter Practice Tool
Using a teleprompter can be nerve-wracking the first few times out. Luckily, web-based applications like Easy Prompter let you get the feel for a teleprompter’s basic flow, pacing and use in the privacy of your own practice session. One caveat: Online tools are no substitute for the real thing! When you arrive on site, practice with your teleprompter operator so you’re certain to nail it like a teleprompter pro. Read more teleprompter tips.
4. Wireless PowerPoint Control
If your presentation includes PowerPoint, then a wireless remote is an absolute must. My favorite is the Targus Laptop Wireless Presenter. It’s small, lightweight, and includes a built-in laser pointer, too. Don’t forget to turn it off, or you might quickly find yourself in need of new batteries. Of course, always keep spare AAAs handy for the unexpected.
The premier online resources for speakers. Blogger Andrew Dlugan brings together the best public speaking articles from a wide collection of blogs and online newsletters. Along with book reviews, strategies and practical tips for high-stakes presentation success, you’ll find a virtual community of speakers happy to share their best practices.
By using these supporting tools behind the scenes to strengthen your visuals, maximize your rehearsal time, and smooth your on-stage presence, you’ll soon be among the presenters who make highly memorable and effective presentations look nearly effortless.
Check out part two of the series here.