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After PowerPoint, What’s Next? SlideKlowd.

After PowerPoint, What's Next - Message and Communication-Slide kloud

Reality and entertainment collided in a fictional 1960 when Don Draper introduced us to the Kodak Carousel. The Carousel, according to Don, ” isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the carousel. It let’s us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.” The carousel popularized the phrase next slide please, and became the metaphor over 30 million* presentations a day are built on.

Don Draper probably drank his way to advertising heaven in 1985, so he can’t eloquently introduce you to three new technologies that may have the same impact as the carousel did, back in 1960. Technologies that may impact the way you present today, and use PowerPoint tomorrow. A note before we go on. There are many presentation tools and add-ons to PowerPoint. You can tell, they have slide in the name — SlideShare, SlideShark, ClearSlide, SlideDog. Most of them either help distribute slides or add features. For a more detailed discussion of those, go here. We’re going to look at three new players. SlideKlowd, Prezi and HaikuDeck. Each of these innovations attack a specific problem in presentations that PowerPoint has at least enabled and in some ways encouraged. Monologuing, Disconnected thinking and Ugly slides.



In my opinion, the most innovative of the three, SlideKlowd takes on the problem of monologuing. For those of you that aren’t aware, PPMS (PowerPoint Monologuing Syndrome) is rampant among all presenters from the novice to the very experienced. A PPMS stricken presenter falls victim to the belief that their role is to impart information and knowledge, and inadvertently places that on a pedestal above engagement. It’s particularly pernicious in large keynotes where the audience has wireless access. This leads to online scrabble, poker, email — everything but engaging with the presentation.
Rather than insisting people put phones, tablets and laptops away SlideKlowd uses them to engage with the audience. Your presentation shows on a large screen, while pushed wirelessly to your audience. That allows you to ask questions and interact: voting, polling, even social media engagement. If you do it right, you can drive the energy in the room, as well as increase the level of engagement. It also has measurement and analytic capabilities that give you valuable feedback on how well you engaged in a presentation.

You may have guessed from the name, it’s cloud based and very easy to use. Simply take your existing presentation (prepared in PowerPoint) load it into SlideKlowd, add the interactions you want, click a few buttons and you’re done. Audiences log-in to your presentation with an event key, and you or a colleague control the interaction, polling display, etc. on the big screen, through your phone or tablet. The hardest thing (which is actually a good thing) is in preparing your presentation, you have to think dialog, not monologue.

Great for:

Large audiences and keynote events. Educators and roadshows. Great for the Counselor, Teacher and Coordinator presenter types.

Watch out for:

If you are presenting to a small audience, using SlideKlowd is like using a hammer sledgehammer wrecking ball to crack a nut.

Up Next, Prezi.

*Maybe, possibly. It seems this figure may be an urban legend, like the alligators in your sewers.

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

More at Google+Facebook and Pinterest. Comments are welcome, links are appreciated. If you’re interested in writing guest posts for this blog, please contact me.

23 Comments Post a comment
  1. OK! Interesting. Has someone used that already and what’s your opinion on it?

    February 22, 2013
    • Hi – yes – I’ve used it. I think it’s a great tool to make your presentations better.

      February 22, 2013
      • How do you make the audience log in and use the app?

        February 22, 2013
      • The app is a free download for android or apple, and you then give out an event key, which the audience signs in with. A best practice is to put that in the agenda (if it’s a big conference) or on the title slide of the deck. Very straightforward.

        February 22, 2013
    • And so, the audience does not mind to download and launch the app because there is additional value there? Are you seeing people actually already using this app?

      February 22, 2013
      • Yes – it’s an easy download, the audience value is participation, access to slides afterwards, etc. Works especially well at conferences where there are many presentations.

        February 22, 2013
  2. OK! That is interesting! Has someone already used it?

    February 22, 2013
  3. That sounds incredible. This is the first I’ve heard of it. What a great way to actually USE the audience’s smartphones instead of having THEM distracted by them!

    February 22, 2013
  4. Audience participation looks good to me—but it’s too complicated! It should be easier to use… for example, just stick to two or three key features. On-screen comments (for brainstorming), on-screen voting and post-presentation feedback tools would be a good three to stick with. The iPad app looks like it would take a long time to learn how to use… that’s not going to catch on quickly.

    February 22, 2013
    • It’s actually pretty simple to use. Like I said in the post, the harder thing is to rethink how you’d normally build a presentation so that you are interested in and asking for input from the audience.

      February 22, 2013
  5. Interesting. I hadn’t heard about SlideKlowd until now – thanks for providing the review. Can definitely see the benefits for a large, tech-savvy crowd. Unfortunately, most of the groups that I have presented to in the past have been a bit too small to have bothered using it.

    The technology uptake in our little town isn’t that great either. While quite a few of my co-workers carry a smartphone, a vast number of our community don’t even have access to the Internet and wouldn’t have the foggiest how to log into a presentation.

    Maybe one day…

    February 23, 2013
  6. Paxson #


    February 24, 2013
  7. Gavin, I’m always amazed by the historical ignorance of people who believe, and worse, spread the idea that the presentations world jumped from 35 mm slides to Powerpoint…

    1985’s Powerpoint – actually called “Presenter” was nothing but a B&W generator for Mac printed material, the first 90’s MS Version wasn’t more than a B&W flipchart in a computer screen, and the first really usable Powerpoint came to life in 97, starting the dreadful “Do it yourself with Powerpoint” era, which ended leading to the “Death by Powerpoint” stupid concept!

    What happened in between 35 mm slides and Powerpoint? From the words on your blog it seems there was some kind of Dark Ages in the presentations world… which in fact wasn’t.
    It was alive, believe my words, in my case (currently an absolute PP user and defender) I’m designing “computer generated dynamic presentations” controled by the presenters and displayed through video projectors since the late 80’s ( ) and worked with tools that I so many times missed during the realm of Powerpoint 97 (even though I could force it to make zooms and panes), until PP2002 (XP)…

    About the SlideKlowd paragraph, sorry again but you may be wrong.
    No doubt that PPMS you write about exists but only for dumb ignorant presenters – which unhappily are the majority.

    A good/great presenter can already interact with its audience in a wide range of ways, some of them are pointed in your text but, no one on his/her right mind will push the presentation to the audience – for the same reasons that nowadays it’s stupid to give handouts – at the beginning of an event.

    At your presentation would you like your audience paying attention and interacting with you, or would you like them to be interacting with their gadgets while you’re left talking to the backside?

    Your idea being a typical “gadget age idea” ends up being nothing else than a “cloudy” handout delivery…

    February 25, 2013
  8. I would have to concur with Miguel. I like the technology approach but a presenter is telling a story and dynamically engaging with the audience. They should be able to get feedback from the audience through posing simple questions where appropriate.

    The presentation is to support the presenter communicating an idea or concept, it is not there to take the lead over the presenter.

    It will be interesting to see if the technology is adopted short and long term.

    February 26, 2013
  9. Jairo #

    Any information about the cost of this service?

    April 15, 2013

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