THE TECHNOLOGY QUESTION - can it make you a better presenter?

The Technology Question – Can It Make You A Better Presenter?

PowerPoint has been around for a long time. Since 1990, in fact. Since then, it’s become the de-facto standard for presenting the world over. Recently scores of new software innovations are popping up threatening to replace or add to the venerable PowerPoint. But have we become better presenters? Can technology make you better? That’s a difficult question. To answer, I turned to the CMO’s and CTO’s of various start-ups vying to help you. They will answer the question:

“What can technology do to make
you a better presenter?”

 

Kevin Leneway, Haiku Deck

At Haiku Deck we are dedicated to helping our users become better presenters, so this is a question that I think about literally every single day. We designed our app around presentation best practices, such as focusing on one idea per slide, using consistent fonts and layouts, and illustrating key points with beautiful, high-impact imagery. Our focus on making people better presenters inspired the development of some of our newer features such as private notes, which can be used as a personal teleprompter to build confidence  during in-person presentations, and public notes, which provide context for printouts or slides posted online after a live presentation. But as product owner and developer, one of my favorite uses of technology is the ability to optimize the creation process to help our users enter a state of flow. I measure the time it takes for each step of the process, and I spend hours shaving off a few milliseconds here or removing a feature there. Why am I obsessed with these seemingly minor details?  Prior to starting Haiku Deck, I spent years working in traditional consulting / big company cultures, and I was shocked at how much time was spent tweaking the look of a presentation versus the actual content itself. The typical workflow would be to start with some content…then adjust the font, maybe change a color here or there…and before I knew it, it would be lunchtime and my slide would be a mess of broken tables, mismatched font sizes, and stretched, pixelated images. My goal with Haiku Deck was to use the technology to force our users to focus on their message above all else. I optimize each step of the slide creation process to be as fast as possible, so users can keep their message top of mind and let it flow into their presentation with minimal distractions. We hear all the time from our community that Haiku Deck not only saves them time but makes them feel more creative and more confident about their slides, which makes me feel like we’re on to something.

faces3-01Kevin Leneway is the co-founder and CTO of Haiku Deck, software that makes presentations simple, beautiful and fun. Learn about them in WSJTimeFast Company, and Lifehacker. You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kleneway.
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Justin Foster, SlideKlowd

To a large extent, “technology” is a synonym for “change”. One of the biggest changes presenters are dealing with is that smart devices have tipped the balance of power from the presenter to the audience. Simply put, an audience with smart devices no longer sits passively and consumes the presenter’s content. Instead, the audience can Google your statistics, tweet your comments, take pictures of your slides and more. Further, the audience’s technology advantage means a presenter is also competing with whatever’s in their in-box, on social media, etc. This is a shameless plug, but this is exactly why we invented SlideKlowd. While many are trying to fix PowerPoint, we are fixing presentations by involving the audience via their devices, capturing data and responses, and putting a performance metric on the presenter and his/her content. Not only does this make any presentation more interesting, it gives a presenter a baseline for improvement – and tips the technology advantage back to him/her.

faces-01Justin Foster is the co-founder and CMO of Klowd.com – the creators of the SlideKlowd audience engagement platform.  In addition to his business ventures, Justin is a speaker and author on branding, marketing, and generational/technology trends.  He is the author of “Oatmeal v Bacon: How to Differentiate in a Generic World“.  His second book “Human Bacon: How to Create an Awesome Personal Brand” will be available Summer 2013.  Outside of work, Justin is a husband, dad, football geek, coffee and style snob, and Texas Music aficionado.  You can follow Justin on Twitter @fosterthinking.

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Drew Banks, Prezi

Technology in presentations is like technology in movies: it provides audio-visual enhancement to a narrative. And like movies, presentations can be more content-focused (documentaries/indies), technology-focused (animation/sci-fi), or a balance of the two. I usually prefer a balanced presentation where the technology is so tightly integrated with the presenter and story that the audience’s attention is not split between speaker and screen but amplified by the duality.

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Drew Banks is an entrepreneur, business author and novelist, as well as the Head of Marketing for Prezi, you can follow him on Twitter at @drewbanks

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Gavin_Rev2-01Gavin is a founding partner at fassforward consulting group. He blogs about PowerPoint, Presenting, Communication and Message Discipline at makeapowerfulpoint.com. You can follow him on twitter @powerfulpoint.

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: What is Technology’s Impact on Presenting? | SlideKlowd

  2. Peter | July 31, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Fascinating that although the three products serve the presenter in different ways, the three of them combined represent something of an ideal: message/workflow, storyline, and audience involvement.

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