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What tools can you use to create a presentation?

This article discusses different ways and tools that you might like to use for a presentation. Let's explore.
© University of Southampton

There are a number of different ways that you might like to present your work. A lot of people do like to present using presentation software of some kind, though you do not have to use any tool necessarily.

How to present your work

The important thing to think about is how you can use something, in addition to your own voice, that will complement your presentation. There is no point in trying to use something that is fancy and complicated just because it looks good if it doesn’t actually add anything to your presentation.

Below are some of the ways in which you might like to enhance your presentation. Make sure that you are confident in using them if you’re going to include them, and that they are relevant to what you’re saying. Some might need a little more patience and play around with than others, but all can be excellent tools if used in the right way.

Microsoft presentation tools

Microsoft PowerPoint is a particularly popular form of software. You can do some very basic things using PowerPoint and you can also create some very interesting and complex presentations, all depending on what lends itself to your project.

This tutorial from Microsoft will help guide you through creating a simple presentation in PowerPoint and printing out handouts and notes.

Sway is the very latest Microsoft tool that can help you to create interactive, web-based presentations.

Prezi

Prezi follows a similar idea to PowerPoint in that you create slides or frames which you navigate through. Prezi does give you a little more artistic freedom and it is specifically designed to allow you to zoom in on particular ideas which might be useful when trying to illustrate your thought processes to an audience.

It doesn’t however have some of the functionality that PowerPoint has.

Prezi’s YouTube Channel contains many different videos of how to do things at different skill levels.

If you do not like the idea of using either PowerPoint or Prezi, there are plenty of other tools out there that you can use. You will need to find them, master them and work out if they are going to be useful to you.

Engaging with your audience

Social media

You may want to use social media in your presentation if you are hoping to have audience participation. You could perhaps include a hashtag on Twitter if you would like people to comment or ask you questions as you go along.

Polling systems

There are other methods for having an audience engage with you, and your research or subject area – they might even contribute to your findings as a result!

If you have access to TurningPoint, which uses polling built into a PowerPoint presentation, you can poll people in your audience.

There are other polling systems that require less formal technology and allow your audience to vote using their smartphones.

Here are two links that might help you with that:

Again, work out how you want to engage with your audience and select the appropriate tools to help you.

If you feel your presentation is best through only your spoken word then that is equally as good.
If you’d like to learn more about developing a research project, check out the full online course from The University of Southhampton, below.
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