As a scholar interested in visual rhetoric and design, I am acutely aware of every font choice, background image, and text color in presentations as well as how many opportunities there are to have a bad visual presentation. Maybe the font is difficult to read, or there is too much text crammed onto one slide, or the colors clash, or there are no images, or the pacing is too fast or too slow. One thing I am certain of is that a forgotten presentation is a failed presentation. How then do I make a presentation memorable? What are the best tools at my disposal to set me up for success?
The first thing is to decide how to make and save your slide presentation. If you're like me and work on multiple computers in multiple locations, you'll be happy to know that Google accounts now all come with 15 GB of free storage space, so the cloud is a great way to save your work. Google Slides, a free, collaborative, online presentation editor has a streamlined user interface making it really easy to use. Each change made is immediately saved, so no more losing files when PowerPoint inevitably crashes or frantically transferring files via flash drive before your panel starts. If you need an offline editing option, you can also download the Google Slides app at the Google Chrome, Google Play, and App stores.
Furthermore, Google Slides has a small set of gorgeous templates and themes that expertly mix two fonts and create a limited color palette to guarantee an aesthetically-pleasing presentation. Then all you have to do is choose a background and layout, drag and drop images and videos, and arrange your text. Keep it simple and be sure to have a great hook to keep your audience engaged. If the content is interesting and your slides are designed well, the audience is more likely to snap a photo and upload it to Twitter. This type of sharing helps reach viewers you could have never connected with otherwise. While the transition options in Google Slides are much more limited then Prezi, they are also more intuitive and less distracting. As the saying goes, less is more.
Another great advantage of the Google Slides iOS app for iPad was that when my laptop was too slow, I was able to quickly log in, connect with a VGA dongle, and share my presentation using my iPad's 4G LTE network. This was necessary when the wi-fi at the conference hotel was spotty and I did not want my video to buffer. It allowed me to easily navigate through my slides and view my notes on my own iPad while the audience just saw my slides. Having a backup plan in case of internet emergency is key to conference survival.
Last but not least, Google Slides makes it easy to link to or embed your slide to your website so that your presentation is not ephemeral, but archived online and visible for those who could not attend the conference. All you have to do is:
1. Click File > Publish to the web...
2. a) Link: Click the Link tab and choose your auto-advance slide time and whether to start slideshow as soon as the player loads and/or restart the slideshow after the last slide.
b) Embed: Click the Embed tab and choose your desired slide size, auto-advance slide time, and whether to start slideshow as soon as the player loads and/or restart the slideshow after the last slide.
3. a) Link: Copy and paste the link or share via Google+, Gmail, Facebook, or Twitter.
b) Embed: Copy and paste the <iframe> HTML code to your website.
In conclusion, if you use Google Slides' intuitive interface, you will make simple slides that let your ideas shine clearly and will invite others to document or live-tweet your presentation. In addition, making your presentation publicly available online gives the possibility of a more lasting impact.