Present.me gives PowerPoint presentations the personal touch

There is a new kid on the block that will change the way that we deliver our pitches and presentations. It adds a human element to your presentation. And it makes us think about how our messages are going to be delivered.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Tired of sitting through death by PowerPoint? Yes, me too.

Often the slides have been created with no thought whatsoever about how they are going to be received by the audience. They are poorly designed, too wordy and have little visual impact. Often a great presenter can make or break a presentation.

But what if the slides need to be sent around the organisation to be read at a different time? The skill of the presenter in making a compelling argument is lost. The slides are cold, wordy and boring.

I saw a new tool the other day that has made me think again about presentations and how we can easily change the way they are delivered. I have sat through hundreds of PowerPoint presentations, heck, I have delivered hundreds of PowerPoint presentations.

It doesn’t matter what tool you use. A poor presentation is a poor presentation.

Some of them have been dull. Very dull.

I know how bad a poor presentation is for both the presenter – and the audience. It is torture.

I have felt really seasick and disoriented in a large auditorium watching Prezi sessions where the presenter zooms in and out on a huge screen trying to find the next slide. I long to watch something engaging online.

And I think I've found it. I like this idea of the Present.me tool.

Present.me recorder
Credit: Present.me

Present.me is the new kid on the block that I think will change the way that we present our pitches and presentations. It adds the human element  -- you -- to the presentation. And it makes us think about how our messages are going to be delivered.

Present.me was initially envisaged as a formal presentation tool. But the way that the community is using it is much more informal, much more casual, shorter and succinct. Have a look at Present.me in action

It is built and sits in the Amazon cloud. On top of the base layer, the Present.me app has been built in open source.

The main application has two parts to it. There is a recorder and player which is built in Adobe Flex. The wrapper is Cold Fusion Markup Language. There is also an html 5 playback option for devices such as the iPad that will not play flash applications.

Spencer Lambert is the founder and CEO of Present.me. He told me how Present.me works

“The idea behind Present.me is that the presentation is more than just the slides. The important part of the presentation is you, your passion, your insight and your knowledge. It is a tool to enable you and your slides to go together online. It is you and your story”.

Its simple to use too. Lambert says:

“You go to the Present.me site and log in. You take your content which could be a .pdf or a PowerPoint or a Word document, file. Use whatever you're working on, whatever it is that needs some explanation. You upload it. It gets converted to work on the web. You are ready to record.

Click record, get your five second countdown and you talk. You click through your document as if you are talking in a room, talking into your webcam. At the end, you click publish. It is as simple as that”.

Unfortunately our experiences of poor presentations will continue. Death by PowerPoint is not going to go away. Unless people stop and think about what they are saying, how they are saying it and how they present their information we will see poor quality presentations.

It doesn’t matter what tool you use. A poor presentation is a poor presentation. Lambert says:

“With Present.me slides become less important. You are the important bit. The slides are almost a prompt about what you want to say. You can put 25 bullet points and send it to someone. What is going to have the most impact?”

“You and your passion your insights and your knowledge -- everything you want to say and want to communicate”.

The shift is towards really short, really sharp, really snappy really emotive communications. And I think that Present.me is the tool that will allow me to do that – at last.

It might shake up those boring presenters that drive us crazy in the office too.

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