The web is about a lot of things, not the least of which is collecting information and getting your message out and how best to go about doing that. I talk a lot about collecting and presenting in the Studio mostly because there are always great new tools cropping up to leverage technology to make the process cooler, more efficient and more fun. Lawyers are all about researching, collaborating and presenting. Why not use some slick tricks to give you an edge in that game?
I have two tools to talk about. The first is Prezi, a web app that combines the best of white boards and slide decks. Prezi is cloud-based, with a zoomable canvas. This allows you to take a large image, and move from concept to concept across the image, offering a “moving” experience that gives a different feel to your message. It uses a single canvas rather than the slides you normally find in a slide deck. You can add text, images, PowerPoint slides, videos, PDFs, etc. on that canvas. As you create your presentation, you use the “zoomable user interface” to pan to part of the canvas, stop and then zoom in. This offers a far more “cinematic” look than a traditional deck. The resulting process is called the presentation “path” as it more closely simulates a journey through the media than a static stack of slides. There is a desktop editor available for offline construction as well. The Meeting feature allows for social, on-line collaboration on the canvas and path. And, of course, there is Prezi for iPad which is essentially a viewing rather than editing tool. How mainstream is this tool? Check out some of the recent TED presentations to see Prezi at work, making smart people look smarter.
And check out a sample Prezi here:
Free falling through Prezi on Prezi
Here is Prezi’s own promotion video:
Prezi is free for the very basics, but you can pay for some added features. Here is their pricing:
Another similar and equally cool tool is Mural.ly. Still and beta and newer, Mural.ly also offers a whiteboard-like space on which you can load content and create a zoomable/pannable presentation yourself or collaborate with others. It’s all about moving away from the pages of a book metaphor and into the forest for the trees metaphor. Grab websites, photos, audio or other media and, like Prezi, play around with them with others in the same space and at the same time. The distinction between Mural.ly and Prezi is slight but it is there – Mural.ly appears to focus on collecting web content for the presentations – like videos from Vimeo, Google Maps, and content from Dropbox or Pinterest or other web pages, like Wikipedia. It also appears well suited to bookmarking and collaborative brainstorming first and foremost; if you choose to later add a narrative and share, your brainstorming session can become a more full-fledged presentation like Prezi.
Check out the video to see how it works:
Lots of good stuff to work with out there. No excuse for boring brainstorming sessions and yawn-inducing presentations!
Speaking of presentations, SlideShark, formerly an iPad only app coming from online education purveyor BrainShark, hopes to make the experience of viewing, sharing and projecting PowerPoint files fit in your pocket. It has just released an iPhone app and, like its iPad counterpart, works some behind the scenes magic to make the presentation show as it should on your iDevice screen. The iPhone app permits viewing and zooming of PowerPoint presentations, sharing and tracking of presentations, and connecting to projectors or TVs to blow those tiny presentations back up to audience size. With a SlideShark account, you can also store and access the presentations in the cloud at SlideShark’s site. You can also set auto-play functions to loop your presentation and can utilize a laser-pointer effect during presentations.
All in all, Slideshark is a handy tool if you are on the road and needing to work with presentations.
I know what I can’t do – this incredible 450 page slide deck that moves and grooves, thanks to three animators, Tu+, Metcalf and Namroc. But, if they can push the envelope this far out with Google’s free presentation tool, I am thinking you should be able to cobble together a decent, cloud-based presentation of your own.
Enjoy the show …
There is nothing quite like the immediacy of real-time conversation about your presentation while the presentation is going on! This is particularly true if your presentation is about the power of social media. I found this great tutorial on how to create such a back channel for your next presentation. The website is called “140 Learning” and the topic is “Incorporating a Back channel in a Presentation” (link here). The article presumes your use of Powerpoint, Keynote or Sliderocket in your talk. It is relatively short but quite comprehensive and impressive, discussing issues that range from how to create a hashtag prior to the presentation to how to encourage dialog, from tools for easily adding your own postings during the presentation to ways to encourage dialog, from how to show the Twitter stream to how to invite feedback after the presentation. There is a lot of other great stuff in this article, so I highly encourage you to hit the jump if you are considering adding such a high-tech feature to your next presentation!
If you are interested in sprucing up your presentations generally, check out Ray Ward’s suggestions over at the (new) legal writer on better Powerpoint presentations (link here). Thanks Ray!
Doug Cornelius (Compliance Building) and I had a most excellent time presenting our lunch seminar on Beyond LinkedIn: Advanced Social Media for Lawyers yesterday at the Boston Bar Association. If you were unable to attend, you can still check out our presentation materials. Here are our presentation slides:
You also can view our handout collecting web tools and resources (link here).