What’s In Your Presentation Toolbox?

Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, provides a great look into his presentation toolbox. He’s Mac-biased, and many of his applications reflect his preference, but it’s still a good look at a professional presenter’s process.

Here are Hyatt’s presentation tools:

  1. OmniOutliner.
  2. Keynote.
  3. iStockPhoto.
  4. Handbrake.
  5. QuickTime Pro.
  6. Box Shot 3D.
  7. Snapz Pro X.
  8. KeySpan Remote.

Hyatt also recommends the following books to help with crafting your presentations:


In reviewing my own design process, here are the tools I use:

  1. MindManager. Almost everything I do starts with a mindmap in MindManager. I started using MindManager from Mindjet a couple of years ago, and it has now become my “go to” application for crafting any kind of message. Not only does MindManager help me actually develop the content, but the mindmap for each project becomes a central location, or dashboard, for all of the references, links, files, notes, content, etc. that will ultimately go into a presentation.
  2. Logos Bible Software. Why would I need a Bible software program in my list of presentation tools? Well, as a pastor/teacher, I use a lot of Bible references, maps, pictures, quotes, etc., and Logos is the place where I get all of these content items. Forget retyping Bible verses or quotes, etc.; with Logos I copy and paste and it even provides the correctly formatted citation for me. Logos and MindManager are two applications that are open all the time.
  3. PowerPoint. Unlike Hyatt, I have not gone over to the dark side and converted to a Mac. All joking aside, I know there are those who find clear advantages to the Mac OS, but for me, Windows is my native language, and I find the Max OS foreign. Moreover, I have a huge investment in Windows-based applications. So for me, PowerPoint is the presentation solution of choice. I am currently using PowerPoint 2007.
  4. iStockPhoto. I would agree with Hyatt on his selection of iStockPhoto as the first stop for graphics. Although I must admit that I am checking out Flickr more and more. Many of the images on Flickr have a creative commons license and are free to use for educational or nonprofit presentations, and the library of quality images grows by the hour. If I can’t find something on Flickr, I will head to iStockPhoto. Images at iStockPhoto are very inexpensive, especially for the lower resolution images needed for a presentation.
  5. Video. There are a lot of videos that fit well within a presentation. For pastors, there are growing libraries of downloadable videos on a broad assortment of topics. Some of the more popular include SermonSpice.com, BlueFishTV.com, and ScreenVue.com. Even with all of the online libraries, there are still times when the clip I need is on a DVD. In that instance, I will use ImToo DVD Ripper, which allows me to rip chapters from a DVD and then embed it in my presentation.
  6. Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum. Ten years ago I used Adobe Premiere for all of my video editing. In the last few years, however, I have switched to Sony Vegas Studio. Vegas Studio is a great nonlinear editing program that has a lot of features for an inexpensive program. Not only does it do a great job with day-to-day editing, but it will easily handle the HD clips from my Canon TX1 camera.
  7. SnagIt. SnagIt is one of those inexpensive applications that soon becomes indispensable. Whether I am in the research phase of a project and need to grab a quick screen capture and paste it into my mindmap, or I need a screen capture for a presentation, SnagIt by TechSmith is a great tool.
  8. Microsoft Wireless Presenter 3000. There’s nothing special about this except it works! There are many wireless presenters to choose from, I picked this one, and it has worked well for me. Regardless of which brand of wireless presenter you choose, it’s important to have one so you are not tethered to your laptop during your presentation.

Well, that’s a look inside my “Presenter’s Toolbox,” what’s inside your kit?

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