In our introductory article about alternatives to PowerPoint, we talked about how to use PowToon– a presentation option which makes it easy to animate your slideshows that definitely don’t look like a PPT.
Today we are going to talk about Emaze, a cloud-based option for presentations. But before we dig into emaze, we wanted to go over a few basic reminders to keep in mind for any presentation, no matter which software or program you use.
- Think of your presentation like a good book – it should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
- Always aim for more visuals and fewer words.
- A slide show should support your presentation, not be your presentation.
- Remember that roughly 10% of your audience will have trouble seeing reds and greens.
- Avoid acronyms or make sure to explain those you do use – don’t fall into the trap of asking if anyone needs something explained, because people always hesitate to look like the only person who doesn’t know.
- Make your last slide highly meaningful, as people tend to remember the last thing they heard.
- Don’t make the slides in your presentation for you, make them for your audience. When you create each slide with this in mind, everything will speak more to your audience.
- Don’t read slides out loud, as people can read about 5x faster than you can speak it — so all reading out loud does is frustrate your audience.
- Always double check your facts. If you misquote or have something wrong, it makes you appear to be less of an authority.
- Personal anecdotes are a great way to draw your audience in while illustrating important information.
- Remember, most people will form their opinion of your presentation in the first few minutes, so hit the ground running.
With those tips in mind, let’s take a look at Emaze.
Emaze is a cloud-based software (you build your presentation online) that offers you the ability to access it from anywhere with almost any device. This is nice if you don’t want to have to download software, and it makes it easy to do collaborative presentations – but not the way to go if you prefer to do all your work offline. However, keep in mind that cloud-based software is becoming more of a norm, so don’t shy away from it just because you have the habit of working offline.
Emaze offers you the ability to import one of your existing PPT presentations if you don’t want to start from scratch. You can create a presentation which is reminiscent of PPT, or you can play around with 3D effects and zooming transitions in some of the templates. These effects are built into the templates, so that part is fast and easy.
Emaze offers a free version and then two levels of upgrade. If you want to be able to download your presentation or to have privacy controls, you’ll have to go with one of the paid versions. Here is the emaze price sheet – http://www.emaze.com/pricing/.
There are a variety of slide templates to choose from in numerous categories including
- Art & Design
Each template has a choice of themes. Today we’ll try out the Space template.
This is how your template screen will look when you begin:
In the upper left corner you’ll see the word “slide” – when you click on this, you’ll see a menu which gives you the ability to select from their gallery of slides or to import one of your previously made PPT presentations.
In short, with a little bit of clicking around you’ll be able to figure emaze out pretty quickly. You can copy and paste images and other things from the web, and the program does auto save your presentation every few minutes – however our experience was that this aspect glitched semi-regularly so we’d get an alert which said the save had failed.
Clicking on “try again” worked every time, and it’s possible that this feature would be better or worse depending on which browser you used.
Though the editing tools in emaze are intuitive, some of the aspects weren’t as smooth as they should be. For instance, you have to click around a bit on existing text in order to highlight the text box if you want to change its size or shape.
You can also add hyperlinking. Since emaze is designed for sharing online, this allows you to link to additional resources or other information. Though emaze does allow you to input charts, this feature is not yet as robust as PPTs, so if charts are going to be a primary feature of your presentation, emaze may not be your best choice, at least for now.
The biggest upside to emaze might also be its downside, depending on your perspective. Because a lot of the features in emaze are automated, it’s very simple and fast to create a really spiffy slideshow.
For example, just below is our short example which took us less than 10 minutes to complete. We purposefully did not spend a lot of time beyond editing the template so you can get an idea of what you can do in just a few minutes:
The downside to a lot of this automation is that it makes it harder to customize as much as you may like. You have a limited number of choices of text color, for instance. However, there are enough colors to keep most people happy.
Overall, if you want a presentation quickly that needs more pop than a usual PPT, especially if you’d love cloud-based for collaboration, give emaze a try.
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