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slideshareHave you attended a few online meetings in your time? Were they easy to use? Did you need to download the presentation separately? Did the presenters have trouble with audio-visual setup and responses to audience questions? Well, Slideshare has a solution to all this and it’s free!

Zipcast is Slideshare’s newest feature, which essentially allows you to run a Ustream-style chat and meeting space. You are able to give a voice-over and video presence to the presentation and to control when the slides change. Meanwhile, your audience can chat about the presentation, meaning you’re able to monitor questions your audience might have in real time. It’s basically a very simple, free way to co-ordinate an online meeting.

slideshare online presentation

If you like, you can learn a lot more about Zipcast by watching Robert Scoble’s video interview with the Slideshare Founder and CEO.


Start A Zipcast

The easiest way to start a Zipcast is to go to the presentation you wish to use and click on “Zipcast“. Yes, it’s possible to create a Zipcast on any public presentation on Slideshare.

slideshare presentation tips

Slideshare lets you choose whether to make your Zipcast public or private. Private Zipcasts are able to be password protected and ideal for company meetings, whereas public Zipcasts are perfect for teaching and sharing ideas on given subjects. Even if you choose not to have a password on a private Zipcast, your meeting will only be visible to those who have the URL. It won’t be listed in the Slideshare Zipcast listings.

Then all you need to do is set up your camera and microphone using Flash, then share details of your Zipcast meeting until you’ve got an audience.

slideshare presentation tips

Here’s what a Zipcast looks like in action. You can see the presenter video and the chat log on the right, the presentation on the left. Below this is a collection of pictures of the participants. Everything is all in one centralised location, so there’s no fuss.

slideshare presentation tips

Sharing On Social Media

When you start a Zipcast you are asked if you’d like to share the Zipcast on Facebook. It’s a great way to let your friends know you’ve started the meeting and tell them they can join in. Later, you can still easily invite people to join you. Also, if you’re chatting in a Zipcast you can share your messages on Facebook. I would have liked to see Twitter as an option there, too.

presentation with slideshare

Limitations of Zipcasts

Things you can’t yet do with Slideshare’s Zipcast meetings:

  • Scheduling.
  • Recording.
  • Allowing multiple users to lead the presentation.

However, all of these features are in the works (as shown in Robert Scoble’s video interview).Also, you can create your meeting URL ahead of time, then email people, create a Facebook event or use some other way of scheduling attendance for your Zipcast. You could also use a screencast creator to save your presentation along with the chat records.

Despite the limitations though, Slideshare’s Zipcasts are a lot easier to set up, use and manage than other online presentation systems I’ve seen, such as Vokle. I think it has a solid future ahead.

slideshare presentation

For Presentation Lovers

If you love Slideshare, you’ll enjoy these articles too:

If you’ve started a Zipcast or can think of a great way to use this service, let us know in the comments!

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