I think PowerPoint presentations are useful tools when used effectively as a visual or audio-visual aid to support what you say.
So I certainly donâ€™t subscribe to the â€œavoid PPT at any costâ€ school of thinking. Much (most) really depends on how you use your aid (and Garr Reynolds has some terrific tips on effective presentations).
Iâ€™ve often wished, though, that I could somehow make a PPT into an interactive tool, give it some life as Iâ€™m in the midst of leading a workshop or some other interactive event.
For instance, when discussing a chart or graph with people in a workshop, it would be great to be able to write or sketch some thoughts or different ideas as they come up right on a specific slide; what you write or draw is embedded in that slide which you can save, project and print out.
And do all that with a tool that is simple, low cost and just works.
I have such a tool that Iâ€™m going to be trying out in the coming weeks courtesy of Hamelin Paperbrands and especially Jane Rowe (whoâ€™s just left Hamelin for pastures new) and Gerard Oâ€™Mahony, Hamelinâ€™s marketing director.
That tool is PaperShow described by Hamelin like this:
PAPERSHOW is the new OXFORD digital writing kit for digital flipchart and interactive presentations (PowerPoint) for meetings, conferences and collaborative work. A plug-and-play easy-to-use kit to make your presentation personal and unique: add comments, details and crucial points… instantly!
I have a copy of the retail product that I believe is now on sale in the UK (and launching in the US in January).
Iâ€™ll be posting about my experiences with PaperShow on my tech blog during November. Meanwhile, check it out for yourself, either at the PaperShow website (only in French at the moment) or at SurvivingMeetings which has some great videos. You can also read some of the early blogger reviews based on the pre-retail beta version.
Letâ€™s see how to put some life back into PowerPoint.
- FIR Interview: A Conversation with Jane Rowe Sept 17, 2008