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April 2024
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Top Technology Products for Toastmasters

Make your next presentation stand out with these tools.

By Dave Zielinski

A number of promising new apps, tools and technologies designed for speakers were featured at the recent Presentation Summit conference in Florida. Here is a selection of the top products and services for Toastmasters.

Presentation timer

A new PowerPoint add-in called TalkTime calculates the total time PowerPoint slides will take to present—even as speakers add or delete slides. It calculates the length of a presentation based on times assigned to individual slides. Speakers can either copy PowerPoint rehearsal times into TalkTime, enter them manually for each slide, or record timings from a typical slideshow.

Remote for slide shows

Logitech’s Spotlight Remote combines a sleek design with impressive functionality. An advanced pointer system allows speakers to precisely highlight areas of focus or magnify for high detail. The on-screen cursor can open links and pause or play videos with no need to break the presentation flow by moving to a mouse or laptop. The remote also enables speakers to manage their presentation time, setting milestones within the app and sending vibration alerts directly to the hand. The remote connects via USB receiver or Bluetooth, is fully rechargeable and has a 100-foot operating range.

Audience interaction technologies

Sendsteps allows speakers to ask audiences questions using PowerPoint, with audiences responding via text on mobile devices or through a website. Speakers can create trigger questions or challenge participants to take a quiz. Groups can vote with their tablets or smartphones, with results appearing instantly on-screen.

Poll Everywhere transforms one-sided presentations into two-way conversations. The audience response system enables speakers to embed interactive activities directly into a presentation, with audiences responding via SMS text on phones or tablets. Results are summarized instantly on-screen. It offers a large variety of polling activities, including multiple choice, open response, live word clouds, clickable images, rank order and more. Questions can be written in 30 languages.

Presentation slide management

Tired of hunting for missing slides, images or charts? Empower is a content management system that stores all PowerPoint slides in one place for easy search and centralized updating. This scalable slide library, which will automatically increase its capacity to accommodate new slides as they’re added, also helps ensure a sanctioned corporate design is part of all presentations.

“VirtualSpeech has a tool that can help prepare you for Toastmasters meetings and improve your career skills.”

Ecos allows users to create, edit, deploy and track presentations from a centrally located dashboard in a cloud-based environment. Administrators can monitor brand standards and update content such as data, video or photos to ensure presentations always convey the right message throughout an entire organization or company.

Shufflrr keeps presentation messaging consistent across a company, allowing users to share presentation files easily and create slide decks quickly. The platform tracks usage by slide, file, user, activity, shares, likes and comments. Slides once lost on a network after a single meeting are now stored, categorized and easily accessed for future presentations.

Immersive technology

Inscale Interactive develops next-generation corporate presentations, augmented reality, virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality solutions to engage audiences in new, immersive and meaningful ways.

Although this company wasn’t at the Presentation Summit, VirtualSpeech has a tool that can help prepare you for Toastmasters meetings and improve your career skills. The app can be used to improve your communication skills in realistic virtual reality scenarios and works with mobile VR headsets.

(For other companies offering immersive technology products, see the article “A New Era in Presentation Technology” in the February issue of the Toastmaster magazine.)

Graphics, videos and icons

Pixabay is a community of creative professionals that shares more than 1 million copyright-free images and videos. All content is covered under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist—even for commercial purposes.

Explore more than 9,000 professionally designed, editable graphics created in Power­Point through eLearning Brothers. All graphics are import-ready. Integrate data into tables, charts and graphs or use animations and graphics to enhance your presentations.

The Noun Project features more than 1 million royalty-free icons created by a global community for use in presentations. Find the icons you want, change their color and size if desired, and insert them into your slides or documents. 


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