Take Your Presentation from Boring to BRAVO!

Online Resources

Contrary to popular opinion, there are other tremendous resources out there to help you move your presentations from boring to BRAVO!  In addition to the books in the recommended resources section, here is a sampling of Kristin’s online favorites:

Great Speeches to Watch.

Google Tech Talks.  Similar to TED, Google brings in some fascinating presenters – if you can get beyond the classroom setting.

Movie Speeches.  I adore movies, and so when there is a speech in there, I’m all over it!

Retail Road Show.  I am baffled at how some of these companies actually get their IPO funded with these video presentations.  But then again, some are astoundingly great!

TED.  I don’t miss a posting from the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference by where the presenter is challenged to “give the speech of their life” within 12-18 minutes. Always interesting from a content AND style perspective.

Blogs to Peruse

(other than mine!)

Andrew Dlugan has a great blog/website that summarizes the best of the best blog postings about presentations.

Jeff Hurt provides insightful commentary into the future of conferences and meetings – and how your presentation needs to “fit” into that future.

Nick Morgan believes you can give a speech and change the world.  Is there any other reason to give a speech?  I love the way he thinks….

Tom Antion has been blogging about public speaking FOREVER – and he is a master of internet marketing.  A potpourri of “how-to” information.


(don’t forget to make sure you have permission to use or license!)

CartoonBank. The New Yorker Magazine cartoon website.  My all time favorite.

Cartoon Resource.  Has great stock cartoons and you can even have them customize one for you.
When you just can’t find the right cartoon, check out ToonDoo where you can create your own, customized cartoons.

Cartoonstock.   Love this site.  Could browse it for ages.  Offers a wide variety.

Randy Glasbergen.  A great site for business cartoons and custom cartoons.

Ted Goff.  You may recognize some of Ted’s cartoons!

Camera/Voice Recorder:

I use a Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera and an Olympus WS-210s Voice Recorder. (okay, the Olympus is a little old, but works like a champ!) Just record and download.  Can”t make it much easier than this!

Cellphone Polling Technology:

My favorite is Slido…but here’s a list and comparison chart of all the different types of polling technology I use as a professional facilitator and panel moderator.

Clipart,  Stock Images and Graphics:

Do us all a favor and eschew Microsoft clipart and stock images!  I like to use:
ImageAfterFreeDigitalPhotos, and FreeRangeStock has free photos – as long as you provide an acknowledgement.  Pay a buck with CanStockPhoto, GoGraphDreamstime or  Big Stock Photo where the submitter has “certified” the image as for sale and clear for use.  Stock.XchngFotoliaClipartInmagine,Shutterstock and istockphoto cost a little more, but it’s worth it!  Or, do an advanced search on Flickr and select the Creative Commons use.  You just need to provide attribution on your slide.  You can also commission your own graphics through Elance or hire the graphic artist who illustrated my book, Shannon Parish.  Or, just take the picture yourself!  :-)

And, a great fallback to use if you can’t find just the right picture is to use a word cloud.  There are several word cloud generators on the web, and each one is just a little bit different.  Most are easy to use, free and may require a username and password. Check out WordleTaxedo,  ABCya.  You might also be interested in Techmynd which quickly scrambles words.


Canva’s Design Wiki on Colors teaches you everything you need to know about colors, their meanings and the numerous color combinations that will hopefully give inspiration to your next design.

Color Blind Tester check out how an image looks to people with the three kinds of color-blindness!  You can also check out Colorhunter

Color Contrast Calculator.  Check out whether your colors harmonize or collide!

Hunter that helps you pick a color palette that will work best with a graphic you want to use.

Countdown Timers:

Try using my free, 15 minute timer, or you can just open Microsoft Powerpoint, click on the help button and search “countdown timer” and download a template…or you can create your ownwith these easy steps!  Of course, you can get really snazzy with the XNote Stopwatch too!

Dates/Historical Events:

Chases Calendar of Events is the is the authoritative guide to special occurrences, holidays, anniversaries, celebrity birthdates, religious observances, sporting events, and more from around the world. Unfortunately, it costs 75 bucks in paperback and a wee bit less online.

Today.  Get a listing of all the significant events (births, deaths, historical events, holidays, and religious history) or for any given date in history lists significant events on any given date in history.


Google “PowerPoint Games” and you’ll hit the jackpot of ideas… or you can go to The Parade of Games, for some simple games or PowerPak Pro for “Game Show Style” games.


Rather than printing out the PowerPoint handouts, why not customize your handouts from your slides using the nifty George for PowerPoint?

Interactive PowerPoint:

There are some really cool technologies coming out…Prezi is way cool and will blow you away and the Papershow digital writing kit lets you annotate presentations onscreen.


Make sure you have the rights to use music in your presentation.  Check out Music Bakery andDittybase for royalty-free soundtracks. Or, save yourself some time and use FotoSearch which aggregates about a dozen of these royalty-free sites!

Noisemakers can be used to get small groups to refocus their attention to the presentation.  I’m not a big fan of train whistles and clackers, but I will use a pleasant three toned chime to bring people back.

Props and Prizes:

Most props tend to be household items that haunt your house…or you can rifle through a few novelty purveyors of “stuff”.  My favorites are Trainers WarehouseU.S. ToyOriental Trading,  Rhode Island Novelty and Mindware.


Ohmigosh!  There are so MANY to choose from!  You can search some traditional databases:Bartelby,  MightyMinds.comQuoteland, The Quotations Page…or a bit more contemporary: QuoteGeek .  But then again, you can check out my very own Team Quotables!  And, if you want to verify one of the quotes you use, check out Snopes.  Lots of fun!

Response Systems (ARC):

There are an absolute slew of handheld audience response systems out there, but my favorite is Turning Technologies.  It’s simple to use and portable.  Runs on PC and Mac platforms, but I’d like for them to update their MAC software….

And there are more, each with a set of pros and cons to them that matter depending on what kind of polling you will use them for!  Audience Response Systems, Inc., Communications Technology Intl., Current Works, Inc., Fleetwoood Group, Inc., Machine Dreams, Inc., Media Vision USAMeridia Audience ResponseMS InteractiveOne Touch Systems, Inc., Option TechnologiesOrtek Data Systems, Inc.,Padgett Communications, Inc., Quick Tally Interactive Systems Inc., Sun-tech International Group Ltd.

Speech Recognition Software:

Dragon Naturally Speaking is the best software out there that transcribes your spoken word (using your audio or video recording) into written text.


Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Who knew the government was keeping track of this stuff?  You can also find some interesting info at BizStats.  And to display them?  Check out USA Today Snapshots(r) archive.

Visual Elements:

Are you looking for a new or different way to present information?  Browse through thePeriodic Table of Visualization Methods for some new ideas.

Web Based Survey:

I use Survey Monkey, but others are just as happy with Zoomerang (both owned by Survey Monkey). For custom solutions with lots of flexibility check out our friends at 360fyi.