Many experts agree that the best way to get your message across is to stimulate as many senses as possible during the course of your presentation. That’s why so many presenters rely on audio to enhance their visuals.
“Beautifully crafted music adds to the emotional impact of our images. One only has to see the reaction of clients to understand why we use music whenever we can,” says Massachusetts-based photographer Edward Zemba about using audio to enhance his presentations to potential customers.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of terrific audio resources available to speakers and presenters, such as:
1. Musicshake.com (www.MusicShake.com)
This intuitive application allows users to easily create their own music clips using more than 80,000 copyright-free samples. It offers a wide array of genres and instruments to choose from, and even provides a suite of voice recording and editing features. Once clips are created, they can be posted to the site and shared with others – providing a catalog of truly unique audio samples. Be sure to check out the Independence Day Remix application, for great 4th of July-themed music!
2. Royalty Free Audio
- RoyaltyFreeMusic.com (www.RoyaltyFreeMusic.com)
As the world’s largest library of royalty-free music, this site offers clips for everything from music for callers waiting on hold, to backgrounds for advertisements. An intuitive search facility makes it easy to select from a wide array of styles, including jazz, children’s, acoustic, piano, R&B, and hip-hop music. There is also a compilation of clips for use specifically on the Web, or in presentations or Flash videos.
- Presentations Magazine (Presentations Magazine)
Presentations is the leading publication in the public speaking and presentation market. In addition to advice and guidance, they also offer a variety of resources, including audio clips for use in slide decks. Some of the available sounds include a dial tone, a cappuccino machine, champagne being poured, a ringing cell phone, and a ship’s bell.
- Sounds of the Web (www.SoundsoftheWeb.net)
Part of the Group Media Network, this resource has been around since 1999 and has been praised by Audio Media Magazine, Digit Magazine, and others as a pioneer in the industry. It offers thousands of music loops and sound effects to meet almost any presentation or digital media need.
- AudioMicro (www.AudioMicro.com)
With a huge collection of micro stock audio, AudioMicro is a revolutionary collection of user-generated royalty-free stock music, sound effects, production music, production elements and music cues.
- Sound Ideas (www.sound-ideas.com/)
Just $129 will buy you 5 CDs packed with audio clips that are the perfect enhancement to your slide deck. Over 1,400 files are included in each volume, with packages for business/office, pop culture, comedy, and other areas of interest. Files can be easily exported to the format of your choice. You can also create loops, edit, fade in/fade out, and more!
3. Make Your Own
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, or you’re looking for something unique, there are countless audio editing software applications you can try. Check out Sony Sound Forge, Adobe Soundbooth, Dexster Audio Editor, FX Audio Editor, or Acoustica, which all run about $40 to $60 each. If you want real, recording-studio quality sound, try Adobe Audition or Sony Vegas Pro, which will cost you several hundred dollars. There are also a variety of free audio editors which you can download or use in your browser, such as Aviary’s Myna, Audacity or Wavosaur.
4. Advice and Guidance
Incorporating audio into your slide deck is more than just a matter of slapping in some background music and cute noises. There are right ways to do it, and wrong ways. Fortunately, there are many experts who have shared their best practices. From general tips and techniques, and advice on intellectual property and copyright law, to tutorials for recording presentation audio, advice can easily be found across the Web.
5. Voice Talent
If you have a script for your project but don’t want to record your own voice track there are now a good number of online services for finding just the right professional voice you need. These services generally keep a database of voice talent in a variety of languages and accents that allow you to browse and listen to each one. The more comprehensive services let you post your project to their site and help you manage it through the process sending you the finished product when it’s done. Some of the more popular voice talent databases include Voices.com, Voice123, VoiceTalent.com.
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