PowerPresentations - Presentation Tips & Secrets

Podium PowerPoint add-in Review

Written by Geetesh Bajaj.

Podium is a PowerPoint add-in which enables you to do quite a bit with your slide content.

You can manage your PowerPoint presentations, and you can use provided tools to enhance your presentations. You can also create a new presentation from scratch. Podium provides a huge library of media elements such as images, vector drawings, ready-to-use backgrounds, 3D clip art and shapes, embellishments, etc. All these elements are royalty free, and most of these can also be individually customized to match the look of your slides. Once installed, Podium creates a new tab on PowerPoint's Ribbon.

Podium is by BrightSlides.com, a company based in Omaha, Nebraska. You can learn more about Podium from their site. My contact at BrightSlides for this review was Adam Shah -- thank you, Adam.

Using Podium

Download the installer from the link given above, and run the setup routine. Even if you do not download and install Podium, you can follow this walkthrough to understand Podium better:

  1. Launch PowerPoint. Most of the time, PowerPoint opens a new presentation with a single slide -- you can change the slide layout to Blank or Title Only by selectingHome tab | Layout | Blank or Title Only. This provides a nice blank slide to work on.

  2. Now, access the Podium tab of the Ribbon, highlighted in red in Figure 1.

    Options within Podium tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 1: Options within Podium tab of the Ribbon

    The options within the Podium tab are explained below, as marked in Figure 1above:

    1. Launch Podium: Click this button to launch the Podium interface, as shown in Figure 2. 

      Podium interface
      Figure 2: Podium interface

      The Podium interface provides six tabs -- these tabs are highlighted in red in Figure 2, above. Each individual tab has a particular reason for existence, and their purposes are explained later in this review.

    2. Create 3DText: This option takes you to the 3D Text Rendering engine -- refer to the 3D Text point in the Podium Tabs section later in this review. 
    3. Backgrounds: Click this button to bring up a Background gallery as shown in Figure 3. Choose any background as you require. 

      Background gallery
      Figure 3: Background gallery

    4. Embellishments: This is a toggle button which opens/hides the Shapes & Embellishments pane (highlighted in red in Figure 4). Select and drag (or double-click) any of the available embellishments to your slide. 

      Shapes & Embellishments pane
      Figure 4: Shapes & Embellishments pane

    5. Help Section: Within this section you'll find the Podium Help file, tips, access to the online forum, etc.
  3. Choose any of the options to enhance the look of your slide. See Figure 5 which shows a slide with a Podium readymade background and embellishment applied.

    Slide with Podium media element applied
    Figure 5: Slide with Podium media element applied 


Podium Tabs

Once you click the Launch Podium button within the Podium tab of the Ribbon in PowerPoint, a mini-application called Podium opens with a PowerPoint-like interface, containing 6 tabs -- these tabs are explained below:

  1. Library: This tab (see Figure 6) provides you options to view and access backgrounds, templates, and stock photography.You can even manage your presentations by adding slides which are stored on your computer to this Library. This process is easy because Podium automatically searches your entire hard drive and categorizes every PowerPoint presentation and template that it finds. And the One-Click button makes it really easy to update the Library with any new content.

    Library tab
    Figure 6: Library tab

  2. Slide Designer (see Figure 7): Lets you create slide backgrounds for your presentation. It offers you numerous filters to manipulate colors, effects, and transformations. You can manipulate images so that you end up with an entirely new design -- this can be used as your PowerPoint slide background. You can instantly see how your designs look with the live thumbnail preview.

    Slide Designer tab
    Figure 7: Slide Designer tab

  3. Slide Builder (see Figure 8): This full drawing studio enables you to create backgrounds layer-by-layer with easy to use vector drawing tools provided as well as the large royalty-free library of rasterized shapes and embellishments.

    Slide Builder tab
    Figure 8: Slide Builder tab

  4. 3D Text (see Figure 9): The new OpenGL® base 3D text rendering engine enables you to create 3D text with full lighting effects and gradients.

    3DText tab
    Figure 9: 3DText tab

  5. PowerPoint (see Figure 10): Within this tab you can define how your output should be applied to PowerPoint.

    PowerPoint tab
    Figure 10: PowerPoint tab

  6. Help (see Figure 11): This tab offers quick access to the Podium support center, customer areas, checking for updates, etc.

    Help tab
    Figure 11: Help tab


Pricing and Support

Podium provides license for a month, a year, and full license. They cost $15.00, $99.00, and $199.00 respectively.

Support options include an online FAQ, email, and online demo movies.



Podium has a huge feature set -- and it does have a good price:performance ratio. Podium does bring in a lot of options and that can be intimidating unless you have the time to explore and play with all of them. It's a good product if you get to use all its features.

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  • "We engaged The Presentation Team to do a Presentation training for our team and he did a great job. He spent time understanding our requirements and the skill level of our team members and created a course which met our expectations and goals. I highly recommend The Presentation Team as a Presentation (PowerPoint) trainer."

    Navdeep Sidhu
    Senior Director, Software AG
  • "Kevin Lerner provided best-in-class services when hired to work on promotional materials for the launch of a key product at Motorola. The expertise and quality that he brought to the project were second to none and as a result, he delivered a top-notch presentation that was quickly adopted throughout the organization. Kevin is great to work with, delivers on time, is a great team player and is always willing to go the extra mile."

    Maria Cardoso
  • "Kevin has been a working with Cox Communications to deliver world-class PowerPoint presentation visuals since 2009. His ability to meet our specific needs, timeframe, and budgets has been exceptional. His professional interaction with our team reflects his deep expertise in the industry, superior presentation design skills, and commitment to superior service."

    Jonathan Freeland
    VP, Video Marketing at Cox Communications
  • "Kevin is an enthusiastic, creative, and passionate presentation guru. Our company was impressed and felt the value of his training in 2013 that he was invited again recently to again share his knowledge. Both times he has been energetic and addressed many areas for presentation development. From planning to follow-up Kevin is personable and easygoing, motivating our teams to take their presentations to the next level."

    Yoshimi Kawashima
    Project Coordinator, Nissin International
  • "Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from tips & tricks to aesthetics, all with the intent of getting the message across crisply and creatively. I've already received praise for decks that incorporate the skills obtained from his training. I highly recommend Kevin's services."

    Era Prakash
    General Electric
  • "The PowerPresentations seminar opened my eyes to all the limitless possibilities in presenting."

    Leah Gordillo
    Saint Francis Medical Center
  • "Kevin was a pleasure to work with. He was well-prepared and was an excellent example on how to give effective presentations."

    Seminar participant
  • "The PowerPresentations seminar gave us the tools we need in order to create effective presentations that sizzle."

    Seminar participant
  • "Kevin has always had vision, creativity, and enthusiasm for his professional and works tirelessly perfecting whatever he is working on."

    Marty Smith
    Zenith Goldine Pharmaceuticals
  • "[Kevin and The Presentation Team have] always delivered 110% in terms of meeting our objectives for finished product and budget"

    Paul Price
    Watsco Corp.
  • "I had more people come up to me after I spoke, commenting on the visuals you created, than I did on the subject matter!"

    Andy Smith
    Smith & Robb Advertising
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    Myrlene Clifford
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    Will Flower
    Republic Services
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    William McGlashan
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    Tom Feltenstein
    Neighborhood Marketing Institute
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    Marilyn K. Volker
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    Tom Lant
    Lant & Associates
  • “Kevin is a professional. He did a complete overhaul of my power point presentations and I have had excellent results with his work. He was on time, he sent as many betas as was necessary until we got a great final outcome.” 

    Joachim dePosada
  • "Your expertise in the filed of PowerPoint and general presentation techniques helped elevate us to the level necessary to beat the competition."

    Mike Geary
    James Pirtle Construction
  • "The contrast between the old version and The Presentation Team's version is like night and day."

    Keith A. Bostian, Ph.D
    Iconix Pharmaceuticals
  • "Kevin and his team never failed. The persistence and discipline enabled my projects and other others to be completed in a quality fashion."

    Kent Rodgers
    I2 Technologies
  • "Every day, someone, somewhere, is viewing the training presentations you and your team created for HelmsBriscoe. Indeed, this interactive 12-module PowerPoint presentation has become a powerful tool for our sales team, and has helped HelmsBriscoe in achieving our mission."

    Kari Moberg
    Helms Briscoe
  • “I came into a new position but inherited a lifeless ppt presentation. Kevin and his team reworked my ppt and turned it into a powerful presentation tool for me . . . which I used without much need for revision for several years. Kevin's great. He's that good.” 

    Greg Kreuziger
  • "One of the things I appreciate most about our relationship is peace of mind.  Your team has the latest technology and knoweledge, yet maintains old-fashioned respect for your customers." 

    Kathy Watkins
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    Jennifer Cassandra
    Designline Construction Services
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    Adam LaWare
    DePuy Spine
  • “Kevin redesigned PowerPoint slides for clients of mine, as well as some of my own slides. As an executive presentation coach for nearly 25 years, I'm very picky. Everything he did looks great.” 

    David Greenberg
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    Sherry Alumbaugh
    Data Solutions
  • "You and your team hit the mark with what you delivered.  Many thanks for your outstanding customer service and design ideas."

    Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D.
    Corporate Coaching International
  • “I have worked with Kevin for over 15 years. He has consistently distinguished himself not only as a creative expert but a valuable business partner. There have been many times I needed someone with excellent creative skills to help me take complex business issues and make them simple and easy for high level professionals. Kevin never failed me and always exceeded my expectations. I was very impressed with his commitment level and do "whatever" it takes attitude. I recommend Kevin as a valuable and creative business partner.” 

    Bruce Frcek
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    Stan Brown
    Ambit Marketing Communications
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    Corporate Fitness & Wellness
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    Ellen Mughal
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    Jeff Parrish