Guide on the Side - Presentation Software: The Communication DynamicsBy Marie Wallace, Published on June 1, 1999
Marie Wallace has enjoyed a fulfilling career as a librarian, beginning in 1951 in academia with the University of California and transitioning in 1971 into the private law library world until her 1995 retirement from O'Melveny & Myers. She is the 1997 recipient of the American Association of Law Libraries' highest honor, the Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award. Throughout her professional life, Marie has been a guiding force in the Southern California Association of Law Libraries, Practising Law Institute's programs for law librarians and Teaching Legal Research in Private Law Libraries (TRIPLL).
Today, Marie has commenced on a new path she terms "Life in Progress," which enables her to pursue a diversity of interests as a master swimmer, law librarian, trainer, storyboarder and designer of wearable art. She continues to be a dynamic speaker and prolific writer on such topics as private law library management, presentations and training. She is a member of Toastmasters International and is active with the American Society for Training Development (ASTD) and in continuing education for private law librarians. She devotes her "free" time to various non-profit and civic activities. Always open to new ideas, Marie can be reached at: email@example.com.
|Remember when technology meant using a microphone or a
transparency? Now there is a sophisticated and changing array of technology options.
Presentation software has become very popular and with good reason. Speakers can quickly
show what they mean without a lot of props or other cumbersome maneuvers. Technology saves
time and helps audiences to understand and remember but communication dynamics are still
Presentation software packages, like PowerPoint, Harvard Graphics or Persuasion, are excellent platforms for creating presentations that need visual explanation. For example, demonstrating how to Shepardize requires that the audience see what Shepard's looks like and how the information is organized in order to grasp its utility. By contrast, if you have a story to tell (what happened to the associate who failed to check cites) and nothing tangible to demonstrate, you may dilute rather than enhance your tale by delivering it with technology.
Presentation software involves four communication modes: speech, text, graphics and electronic. Each format has unique strengths and limitations. Ideally, today's presenter is fluent in each format and knows how to combine them for best results. Audiences take in and have different expectations of spoken, written, graphic and electronic information. A unique set of dynamics and assumptions is associated with each mode.
Spoken information - Dynamics and assumptions
Reading text - Dynamics and assumptions
|Viewing graphics - Dynamics and assumptions
Accessing electronic information - Dynamics and assumptions
What do these communication dynamics and assumptions mean for presenters using presentation software and technology? Multiple forces play out.
Next month (pt 2) Presentation Software: Tips and Caveats