If the ship was sinking and I could take only one thing to the lifeboat, it would be Presentations magazine. Then I would be prepared to communicate whether I was rescued or in paradise.
Presentations is true to its subtitle, Technology and Techniques for Effective Communication. It is in its 14th year of publication, and I find it a never-ending resource of ideas, tips, techniques, trends, technological innovations and product reviews.
You can get a flavor of its contents from the online version http://www.presentations.com. Online is not identical to the hard copy but offers a neatly organized selection of hot topics. Online recently featured an article entitled "Digital Justice: How Presentation Technology is Changing the Rules of Evidence in Today's Courtrooms," from the November 1999 issue. Try to get the hard copy of this issue to appreciate the cover graphics for Digital Justice. It presented a wonderful visual message.
Readers can sample Presentations coverage by scanning its spine titles. Here is a selection from the past year:
Projector Buying Guide
Psychology of Visuals
Using Digital Sound
Web Presentation Software
Teaching with Technology
Best Presentation Rooms
Now that your attention is kindled, let's look in more detail at several recent issues.
The February 2000 issue is devoted to "PowerPoint: Why we love it and why we hate it." Four articles each cover a different aspect of this presentation software.
"Multimedia or Bust?" reports on recent research on whether PowerPoint slides are really more effective than overhead slides or plain text. The research results in terms of learning and presenting effectiveness by type of information are intriguing. You will want to know what these results are.
"Power Pointless" asserts that "PowerPoint may be everywhere, but not everyone agrees it's the greatest thing since the film strip. In fact, plenty of renegades in corporate American counsel their clients and employees to use PowerPoint as little as possible--and for good reason. Their advice is don't throw out the flip charts."
"Growing up with Powerpoint" is the story of how computer-graphics revolutionized presentations for presenters and audiences.
"Plugged In" overviews PowerPoint plug-ins guaranteed to fill presentation holes.
Other regular features in the February issue are:
Claudyne Wilder's "Before and After" demonstrates how to turn ho-hum slides into ones that viewers grasp immediately and remember. Claudyne offers to critique your slides free. What a bargain! Where else can you go to put energy and clarity into your presentation slides. My experience is that the majority of presenters using slides need Claudyne's help to get out of the morass of words and bullets and into visual ideas.
Speaker's Notes (guest professional speakers share tips in a column) "When using PowerPoint, stay out of the shadows."
The March 2000 issue features:
DVD, the first of a two part series on how DVD will affect your future. "The line between Web and DVD will blur as more sites use DVD connections and more DVD applications become more Web-like." It is being used on the podium and in sales presentations to deliver video and multimedia sidestepping the bandwidth problem.
Web meeting services: Whether you are communicating with one person or a thousand, online meeting-room services are maturing to the point that almost anyone, anywhere, can use them. A quick look at what the four top providers offer, along with a few tips on what to look for when choosing a service.
Product review of wide-format printers for printing posters and banners.
Scan converters: what you need to know to connect your computer and convert the computer video to signals compatible with regular TV.
Editorial on clichés and platitudes best avoided. Do you push the envelope off your plate when you are not reading from the same page or thinking out of the box?
Tips on how to deal with interruptions from bleeping cell phones in your audience.
Speaker's Notes offers tips "To connect with audiences, learn how to build rapport."
I saved the best part for last. You can subscribe online and a subscription is free if you are in North America. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you are on the way to the podium or just to another day of communicating with staff, clients and family, Presentations will enrich your journey.