- Whiteboards/ Flipcharts
- Slideware - Powerpoint/ Keynote
Whiteboards/ FlipchartsI must say whiteboards and flipcharts are right up there in my list of favourite tools. I've written a fair bit about my love for whiteboarding. So much so that if you read them in isolation, then you may think that I hate every other tool! These low-tech tools can be more versatile than you think. Consider these advantages.
- Whiteboards and flipcharts serve as extremely dynamic tools for presentations. You can:
- capture audience input;
- customise your presentation on the fly;
- and adopt a far more fluid style when compared to slideware
- When your Powerpoint slide is wrong forgotten, your flipchart can still serve as a reminder for your audience. Draw, it put it up on the wall and keep coming back to it.
- As a tool to respond to facilitated discussion, whiteboards and flipcharts always trump slideware.
SlidewareMost people know me to be a big fan of Steve Jobs' presentation style. Jobs is not a whiteboard guy. That's because he knows exactly how his presentation will go. He has every move planned, not just everything he'll say, but every gasp of the audience and every pause he takes. Given how smooth he is, I think he even plans when he'll take a sip of water!
The reason I'm saying this, is because I like to use slideware for presentations where I can predict how things will go. Slideware gives me the advantage of using high quality visuals to illustrate my point. Coupled with cinematic transitions and builds, they can help me create interest, drama and anticipation for my pre-prepared message. I create most of my presentations using Keynote. Keynote handles large media assets and video very well, has great typographic defaults and gives me some beautiful builds and transitions.
I have no quarrel with Powerpoint though, and I feel it's a hugely misunderstood tool. The problems that we see are not with the tool. They simply stem from our improper use. A lot of people ask me about all the pictures on my blog. I create all of them in Powerpoint. And if you look at Powerpoint Heaven and some of Tom Kulhmann's blogposts, you'll realise how awesome Powerpoint can be. Remember, there are quite a few experts to make you look like a star - just reach out to them!
Prezi is one of my newest favourite tools. While Prezi may not do all the builds and transitions of slideware, if you see what it's meant for, you'll realise it doesn't need to. Prezi uses a completely different paradigm from traditional slideware. Your presentation is one giant canvas and you illustrate different points by zooming in to the detail. I like to use Prezi particularly when I want to show relationships between various pieces of content in my presentation. So if there's a really complicated concept that I want to break down from highest to the lowest level, I use Prezi. If I want to illustrate a timeline, I like Prezi there too. If I have points that I keep connecting back and forth with other topics, Prezi's really useful to show those connections.
Mostly, I use Prezi as a brainstorming and presentation tool at the same time. This is especially when I have very little time for preparation. Prezi's non-linear approach allows me to first get all of my thoughts out on one blank canvas. The cool thing with Prezi is that when I'm brainstorming, I don't need to bother about the order of my thoughts or imagery or heirarchy. I can do these in a fairly creative, unstructured fashion that still produces high quality output. Take a look at this video that explains the process. Here's a presentation explaining the benefits of using Prezi over slideware. And if you truly want to be inspired, take a look at the selections here and here.
So that's my grand summary of when to use specific presentation tools. I've deliberately left out tools such as Slide Rocket and Google Presentations. While I believe these tools have a lot of promise, they just don't compete with desktop tools. And given the fact that they still use the 'slide' paradigm, they're playing in an established market. It'll take something special to wring me away from my favourite tools. I'm definitely keen to know what your favourite tools are and when you use them. Please let me know by commenting on this blogpost. I'll look forward to hearing from you.