7 Tools to Improve Your Presentation Skills

See also: Coping with Presentation Nerves

Deathly afraid of speaking in front of a crowd? Or maybe you just want to hone your presentation skills?

No matter your current skill level, perfecting your presentation skills is an ongoing process that can always be improved. From refining your delivery to engaging your audience, these skills are invaluable whether you're a student, a professional, or a seasoned speaker.

And while there's no shortcut to mastering public speaking, there are a wealth of tools available to help you on your journey.

Let’s cut to the chase: here are some essential tools that you can use to elevate your presentation skills!

1. Remote Clicker

There's nothing quite as momentum-breaking and inefficient as having to walk to your laptop while delivering a presentation to change slides. Or worse - having to tell someone "Next slide, please" after each slide, and then potentially encountering an odd dance of human error when the slides aren't what you're expecting.

If you want to do away with all that trouble, there's one handy tool that can help you out.

A remote clicker is a useful tool that enables you to control the pace of your slideshow presentation. If the conference room or venue you're presenting in doesn't have one, bring your own wireless remote control for personal use. Many Bluetooth remote clickers can work across and connect with multiple devices. These can be found in online retailers.

Besides controlling slideshow slides, these clickers also stop and start videos and help facilitate the Q&A segment of your presentation—which can make your presentation smoother overall.

2. Presentation Software

When it comes to creating memorable and appealing slides, having the right software can make a world of difference.

Fortunately, there are many software options available that are capable of helping you craft creative and appealing slides. Microsoft PowerPoint is the industry standard when it comes to presentation software, offering a wide range of tools and templates to create professional-looking slides. Prezi is another well-known slideshow maker known for its unique zooming and panning effects, allowing users to create dynamic and interactive slideshows that can captivate an audience.

Another good slideshow maker is Google Slides. This integral part of the Google Suites offers similar features to that of PowerPoint, but it also embraces a collaborative spirit by enabling multiple users to work on a presentation at once.

3. Projector

When delivering a presentation in a large venue, you'll want everyone to be able to see it—no matter where they are in the room.

To accomplish this, you'll need to have a projector on hand that's capable of delivering large, high-resolution, and quality projections. The right projector helps convey your message without any notable drawbacks.

With a wide variety of this equipment in the market, consider factors such as brightness, resolution, and connectivity options before getting hold of one. Brightness is often measured by Lumens, and higher ones provide brighter presentations, which is especially good for presentations held outdoors.

Higher-res projectors provide clearer images for bigger screens.

And lastly, you'll want to get a projector that can connect to a wide variety of office devices—HDMI and VGA ports typically do the trick.

4. Adapters

To connect your laptop or presenting device to a projector, you will most definitely need adapters to bridge any compatibility gaps.

Adapters come in various types, such as HDMI, VGA, or USB-C, depending on the ports available on your devices and the inputs supported by the projector. These adapters enable seamless connectivity and ensure that your slides are actually shown on the screen—no errors or anything of that sort.

Of course, if you have a specific laptop or device on hand, it's important to check for compatibility between your devices and the projector to avoid any connectivity issues.

Additionally, you may consider wireless connectivity options that eliminate the need for physical adapters, such as Bluetooth. While more expensive, a wireless projector provides added convenience during your presentations—helping save time and reducing effort on set-up.

5. Voice Amplifier

While you can train yourself to project your voice louder, this won't always be effective in larger venues or with audience members farther away from the stage.

One way to fix this issue is by getting a voice amplifier. A voice amplifier is—as the name suggests—a portable device that amplifies your voice. This enables clarity and loudness, ensuring that everyone in the room can hear your message without straining.

As a start, seek out compact and lightweight voice amplifiers like here with practical designs. The ones that can allow you to adjust volume settings and wear a headset or put on a clip-on microphone are ideal. The difference of having a voice amplifier accompany you during speeches is like night and day. So if you want to confidently deliver your presentation with improved clarity and engagement, definitely consider getting one.

6. Portable Timer

Keeping track of time during a presentation is crucial to ensure that each of your sections is smooth and everything is wrapped up by the end of your allotted timeslot.

And while our phones have timers, it's not exactly a good look to hold or silence your phone during presentations. Instead, consider propping up a portable timer in a good vantage point from the stage to help you manage your presentation time effectively.

The best part about timers is that they're fairly discreet. You won't need anyone to come up to you mid-presentation to tell you you only have five minutes left, which can be distracting your audience.

By using a portable timer, you can maintain control over your presentation's timing, stay on schedule, and deliver a polished and professional talk.

7. External Speakers

While your voice amplifier is good for your vocal clarity, external speakers help you play out the audio playback or multimedia segments in your presentation.

When selecting external speakers for your presentation setup, consider their sound quality, compatibility, and portability.

If the venue is small, you can do away with a portable boom box connected to your laptop or playback device.

For larger venues, a more complicated sound system may be necessary—but these are usually provided by the venue providers, so don't hesitate to ask and figure out whether they have the right cables to connect to your personal devices.