There are more things that the average online worker can do with Slideshare – if we care to look hard enough.
Learn. Although my college and high school teachers used PowerPoint presentations during lectures, they generated nothing more than collective Zzz’s from the class. Thankfully, not all presentations are created equal. Most of the educational presentations on Slideshare had sharp graphics, a good text-to-image ratio, and delivered the message clearly.
Of course, some topics have more coverage than others. If you’re looking for a crash course in branding, design, marketing, or social media, Slideshare is a great place to start learning.
Improve presentation skills. If you want to see what makes a winning presentation, all you have to do is look at the Most Viewed, Most Favorited, or Most Downloaded tabs. Find out what makes these presentations work and apply what you learn.
While you’re going through the archive, don’t forget to watch out for Death by PowerPoint and Presentation Zen. Both of them are straightforward guides on how to create visually compelling presentations.
Convey ideas. Sometimes, words just won’t do the trick – especially for difficult subjects that are hard to explain via an email or a phone call. In such cases, finding the right presentation can do wonders.
For example, you have a client who needs to grasp the basics of social media. However, you’re not a social media marketer and you don’t have the proper materials on hand. Instead of spending your time writing a lengthy Social Media 101 email, simply look for an introductory slideshow on the subject. Since most presentations are a good mix of visuals and text, your client can easily grasp the subject.
The same goes for trainees, supervisors, and other people you work with. If you’re having trouble expressing an idea and don’t have the time to create your own report or presentation, looking for an existing one can make communication faster.
Publish a free ebook. Although most ebook publishers prefer to have their work in PDF format, others opt to create presentations and upload them to Slideshare. This makes distribution a little easier, since you can tap into Slideshare’s vast member database. It also helps that the site allows for easy content sharing via email, social bookmarking, and embedding on blogs.
“The Little Book of Leadership” is an example of a Slideshare-based e-book that has reached a wide readership.
Gather inspiration. When you’re lost for ideas or simply need something new to look at, the site also features beautiful photography presentations. Sometimes, all it takes is a pleasant view to get your creative juices flowing – even if the view is from a slideshow.
Use it for a folio or ad. Like YouTube, some businesses place ads on Slideshare. The difference is that YouTube’s audience is varied, while Slideshare users are mostly to tech-savvy businesses people. If you want to reach that specific market, placing an ad or portfolio on Slideshare is a must. Many businesses have done this with some success, especially Ethos Communications, whose “Meet Henry” ads have reached a somewhat cult status.
Network. It’s possible to do a bit of networking while you’re on Slideshare. Like most sites with user-generated content, it has a strong community. You can join interest groups, send messages to your contacts, and participate in events. However, don’t expect to have the same amount of interaction on this site as you would on Facebook or LinkedIn.
I’ve spent the better part of the morning going through the site and although I’ve known about Slideshare since its launch, I haven’t really tapped into most of what Slideshare has to offer. In fact, I won’t be surprised if I turn to Slideshare more often in the next few months – whether it’s to find a resource for my clients or to knock myself out of writer’s block.