We use smartphone and tablet apps to make so many areas of our professional lives easier, and using them to give better presentations feels like a natural extension of that.
We’re not talking about PowerPoint alternatives here – instead, we’re looking at practical presenting apps that will make your experience smoother and easier.
Public speaking apps
Whether you’re delivering a company PowerPoint presentation or a conference keynote, there are public speaking apps out there to solve most presentation problems.
We’ve pulled together the best of the bunch below to help you make your presentations more professional and engaging.
This one is incredibly simple: it’s a countdown clock to help keep track of how much presentation time you have left. In the words of the app’s developer Shawn Welch, Presentation Clock ‘does one thing but it does it extremely well’.
A large timer display with a black background fills the entire screen, making it easy to see how much time is left, even when moving around the stage.
The countdown can also be set to turn to yellow then red at customisable thresholds throughout your presentation, and when time runs out the colours invert (black on red) to indicate how much you ran over by.
Slipping in too many filler words and sounds can really harm your credibility, with ‘umm’, ‘err’, ‘you know’ and ‘like’ being the main suspects. While these words are a normal part of everyday speech, they can break the natural flow of a presentation and make you sound unsure of yourself.
The problem is that when your practising your presentation, it’s difficult to realise where you’re using these words and sounds. This is where speech coaching app Ummo comes in: it records and transcribes your speech as you practice, highlighting which fillers you used and where. The thinking here is that by being conscious of where you use them, you can work to eradicate fillers and gain greater control over your speech.
Ummo allows you to set desired filler words that you wish to track and eliminate. And should you really want to condition yourself, you can even set it to beep when you use one.
Get Ummo for: iOS
Rushing through presentations is a problem for many nervous speakers; there’s huge temptation to race to the end so you can sit back down. But this is a practice we warn against: it often stresses you out more and makes it hard for audiences to absorb what you’re saying.
Speaking to the regular rhythm of a metronome will help you keep a good pace when practising. While there are countless metronome apps out there, Pro Metronome definitely seems to have the most cleanly designed, with a presenter-friendly interface among its peers.
It also boasts an option to have your phone vibrate on each beat, so you can put it in your pocket during the actual presentation to ensure steady pacing.
Presentation anxiety has affected every presenter at some point, and it stems from fear of the unknown.
VirtualSpeech allows you to practice presentation scenarios using a VR headset (you can turn your phone into one with Google Cardboard for just £15). You load in your slides so that they display on-screen in the virtual environment, then practise delivering your presentation to an animated green screen audience. There are a number of scenarios to choose from, ranging from board rooms to conference stages.
See VirtualSpeech in action:
Public speaking apps definitely have the potential to make you a better presenter, but they should only be employed where they add value.
You’ll want to keep your presentation streamlined and simple, so don’t overcomplicate things or create unnecessary barriers between speaker and audience.