One of the easiest elements to add to a presentation, sound is also one of the most inexpensive and quick to master. Following are just a few ways sound can enhance a presentation.
From the mouths of customers
Sure, it's easy to get a clip from the company CEO or your top sales guy extolling his own product. But with a mini digital recorder, you can, with permission, record a quick sound bite from a satisfied customer. Digital recorders often come with software to help you easily move the sound clip to your computer. With a little clean up, it can be ready for your sales presentation in minutes.
Musical book ends
Using music for your opening and closing slides, as people are coming in or leaving, is a great way to set the mood. Or, you can use music with a break slide with a countdown clock, or a photo montage. Keep in mind that there are copyright issues to consider, so don't turn to your favorite Eminem or Harry Connick Jr. track. See Music to go for a primer on royalty-free music tracks that are sure to please.
Add a little character
Maybe you don't want to do all the talking in your presentation. Consider a Vox Proxy help mate. Right Seat Software's Vox Proxy 3.0 (www.voxproxy.com) offers a variety of animated talking characters you can insert directly into a PowerPoint show. You control their actions, what they say and how long they stick around. Vox Proxy characters can provide a little levity and are an effective attention-getter during long slideshows.
Your own sound effects
You don't have to rely on the snap, crackle and whee-ooh sound effects found in PowerPoint. If you have a digital recorder, be on the alert for unique sounds around you to add to a presentation. A passing train, waves crashing on the rocks, a busy street, the sounds of children playing — all these can be material for your next slideshow, free of charge.
Cell phone slide
To prevent cell-phone interruptions during a presentation, you can download an annoying ring tone from the Web to use in an opening slide. It's an effective way to remind the audience to turn their's off. • J.H.