Record Voice for Your Next Presentation

Cloud computing is changing how presentations are made and shared. While tools for Webcasting presentations have been around for a decade, new Web-based services are extending the life cycle of presentations by putting everything online, enabling users to easily create, update, share, and analyze them. "We live online. Yet presentations, the most common sales and marketing communications tool, are still limited by the confines of 20-year-old unconnected desktop software," says Chuck Dietrich, CEO of SlideRocket, one of about a dozen companies leading the charge. I've been testing SlideRocket's tools for several weeks and find them remarkably easy to use. What really caught my attention was its recent introduction of a new audio recording tool—the easiest way I know to record your voice directly to presentation slides and to share that presentation with others. All you need is an Internet connection, a computer, and your voice. SlideRocket makes voice narration very simple. It only takes a few clicks, representing a big step in ease of use compared to PowerPoint. Recording your voice directly into PowerPoint is possible, but it's not very intuitive and can be difficult. I found a step-by-step guide on the Web that consisted of no fewer than 20 steps, any of which could go wrong. Moreover, if you want to share the file—which would be quite large with embedded audio—you would have to compress it to a zip file. In contrast, SlideRocket's audio recording tool calls for three steps: First, click the tab with the microphone icon. Second, click the big green button that says "start recording." Finally, when you're finished with the narration, click "stop recording." You can then publish the link for the world to see. Here's an example of an on-demand presentation I created, based on my latest book. How to refine your vocal deliverySlideRocket is mainly being used by sales and marketing professionals who understand the importance of presentations in their business and appreciate simplicity and economy. The full suite of services is available for $24 a month. There are also a $12 monthly plan and a free option with fewer tools. Bear in mind that whatever program you use, adding your voice to slides won't make them engaging, especially if your delivery is poor. In fact, a bad delivery might do more harm than good. Here are five tips to improve your vocal delivery. 1. Smile. I know it sounds silly, but this works. Famed radio host Casey Kasem said he always smiled when he was on the air. Go ahead and break out a big smile. You'll sound more pleasant and convincing. 2. Punch key words. When a presentation is prerecorded, your audience can't see your facial expressions or hand gestures. Punctuate key words with your voice. Go through your script ahead of time and underline the most important words in the sentence or paragraph. Add emphasis to those words. This will also help you avoid sounding monotonous. 3. Keep a moderate pace. A funny thing happens when people record themselves: They tend to speak faster or slower than they would in conversation. Keep this in mind as you listen to your narration before saving the track. If you speak too slowly on each slide, your presentation will really plod when the slides are played in succession. 4. Watch what you drink. What you imbibe moments before recording will greatly affect the quality of your voice. I doubt Celine Dion downs a pot of coffee before she performs. Neither should you: Caffeine and sugary drinks dry up your mouth. Instead, drink water at room temperature or try warm, decaffeinated tea with honey. 5. Practice. This should seem obvious, but many people fail to do it. Read the material aloud several times until it becomes comfortable. Creating and posting on-demand presentations is a great way to show your prospects, customers, and teammates your content at a time that's convenient for them. Experiment with a few of the new tools to make your message even more compelling. Good luck.

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