Favorite speaking tools & resources

Don’t reinvent the wheel! Here are some of my favorite hardware tools, software, online resources, and service providers.

Things are always changing; here’s a snapshot of some of my favorite tools and other resources!


1. Portable audio speaker: Use one that’s loud yet small (I use Jawbone’s Mini JAMBOX speaker, after previously using the cheaper but bulkier HMDX JAM speaker), ideally with both Bluetooth and wired inputs.
2. Clicker: Consider an upgraded model. I currently use the Logitech Professional Presenter R800, which has a handy countdown timer and buzer. I previously used the older Kensington M01046-T (now available as their model K72441AM), which has a built-in USB flash drive in the clicker base station.
3. Mini power strip: I like the Belkin BZ103050-TVL, which has 3 outlets plus two USB ports. Comes in handy at the venue, at the airport, and at the hotel.
4. Audio recorder: Use a model that records directly as MP3 and that has a standard USB connection cable (I use Sony’s ICD-PX312, which is now available as the Sony ICD-PX333). Use a dedicated device for recording audio, not your phone.
5. Lavaliere mic: Consider having a wired lavaliere for podcast recordings and a wireless mic as a backup for house audio (I use the Shure BLX14/CVL system, which has been great for live presentations and recording my side of podcasts). But you don’t need to start by spending $300 on a mic system.

I don’t bring my own projector—too much of a hassle, especially when flying. The one time the house projector died on me, I presented without slides… and got excellent audience feedback ratings.

Productivity Software

6. Word processing: Google Docs.
7. Spreadsheets: Google Sheets.
8. Presentation software: Google Slides (for webinars and draft-sharing) and Microsoft PowerPoint (most talks). Now that I’m back on a Mac, I may start using Apple Keynote for more talks.
9. Invoicing: I use QuickBooks Online; easier-to-use options include FreshBooks, Harvest, and Xero. The key is to use your usual system, so you can easily see if someone’s past-due.

Online Software & Services

10. CRM for tracking speaking opps: Use the one you already use for agency sales (I use Trello, but you should consider Highrise, Salesforce, Zoho, or HubSpot CRM based on your needs).
11. Social media scheduling: Buffer (I use their $10/month business subscription).
12. Videos for presentations: Save as a .MOV (Mac) or .MP4 (Windows) on the hard drive. If you embed in your presentation, be sure to confirm during sound check that it works when connected to the house A/V system.
13. Email reminders and followups: Boomerang plugin (available for Gmail, Google Apps, and Outlook).
14. LinkedIn research within Gmail and Google Apps: Rapportive plugin (for Chrome and Firefox).
15. Website CMS: WordPress.
16. Royalty-free images: Creative Commons licensing. (When you use their search engine, be sure to check off the “commercial use” and “modify” options. You also need to be sure to attribute the creator.)
17. Web analytics: Google Analytics.
18. Web tracking codes: Google’s URL Builder (to generate UTM tracking codes).
19. Recording audio-to-text interviews: Google Voice (activate the recording feature in your account settings, and then press 4 to start/stop during an incoming call).
20. File sharing: Dropbox (via their 1TB account).
21. Slide sharing: SlideShare (but I embed the slides and link people to a page on my site, so I can track via analytics).

Service Providers

22. Virtual Assistant: Katie Connors in North Carolina.
23. Copywriting: Melissa Breau in North Carolina and Rachel Andrea Ko Go in the Philippines.
24. Audio-to-text transcription: Rev.com or CLK Transcription.
25. Speaking training: Alan Hoffler at MillsWyck Communications.
26. Presentation consulting: Wendy Gates Corbett at Refresher Training.
27. WordPress developer & support: Scott Reston in North Carolina.
28. Website hosting: WebFaction.

Be sure to modify your own copies to fit your needs, and seek professional advice as appropriate—I’m not a lawyer, and your mileage may vary (YMMV).

Want help applying this advice to your agency? Contact me for a free, confidential consulting estimate.

Done here? Head back to the main list of speaker resources.

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