New Collaboration & Presentation Tools = New Way of Thinking

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:


Something Completely Different For Your Slide Decks

Ubiquitous Microsoft’s PowerPoint software has become synonymous with “slide deck”, much like Coke and Kleenex have become synonymous with cola and tissue.  But maybe you aren’t fond of PowerPoint, or are simply interested in trying something new for creating your visual aids. Check out some of the web alternatives highlighted  by ReadWriteWeb here. I am familiar with Prezi and Zoho Show and have used Google Docs Presentations with much success, but SlideRocket and 280 Slides are new to me. One ore more of these tools may better address the way you work. Some, such as Google Docs Presentations, allow for easy collaboration. Zoho Show incorporates live chat with your presentation audience. Check these out – many of them allow importing into PowerPoint so that you can bail and return to more familiar territory.