The "Lessig Method" and sharing presentations over the web
January 27, 2006
I'm a big fan of the "Lessig Method" of presentation. Though Prof. Lessig's style and his method are certainly not for everyone (nor appropriate for every situation), there is much to like about his approach. This presentation is a good example of his style. The content, too, is especially relevant and important since many of you are bloggers, use images for your presentations, etc. Whether you agree with him or not, his ideas are worthy of discussion (debate?). See his presentation entitled: Is Google Book Search "Fair Use"? The video is linked from Lessig's blog, or go directly to the video here at YouTube. Leon Felipe Sanchez has a version of Lessig's presentation for your iPod.
I'm not suggesting that you copy Prof. Lessig's method. But there may be aspects of it that you can emulate or parts you can incorporate into your talks when using slideware. Lessig's method works best for him live when he is situated very close to the screen so that the audience can easily see the screen and prof. Lessig. But for on-line representation of the live presentation, Lessig's slides in sync with his words is certainly better than viewing a PowerPoint deck alone.
Good methods for sharing presentations?
We all agree that PowerPoint or Keynote slides are not a presentation. But for those who could not witness our presentation in person, it is helpful if we can share the message on the web. A common method of making the presentation available is simply to save the PowerPoint deck to the web (easily done in PowerPoint). But if your slides were effective in the life presentation, those slides will be of little use by themselves. In this case, a written handout of your talk with expanded detail and support may be much better.
What's the best way to share a presentation on the web?
I believe the best methods will allow the viewer to see the person speaking as well as hear them, and be able to see the slides in sync with the narration. Seeing the presenter is important. Facial expressions, for example, are a very important channel for non-verbal communication. I'd mentioned this before when I urged presenters to get out of the dark. Good slides synched with good narration, like Lessig's on-line versions of his presentations, are not bad at all. But would it be even better if we could see Lessig actually speaking, at least part of the time?
One of my favorite methods for sharing on the web is the method Lewis PR did here. Although, since our eyes are conditioned to scan back to the left and the strongest part of a screen is often the upper left, I wonder if it would be better to have the speaker appear on the left and graphics on the right? Also, the three Lewis examples have too much extraneous graphics above and below the slides and video. I like the method (and Flash), but a simpler interface — slides and video — would be even better.
Apple does a pretty good job of making Steve Job's keynote's available on the web. I like the way you can see Steve (most of the time) and the slides (most of the time). Sometimes this is done with a split screen or a single shot which frames both Steve and the slide image.
Above: Split screen allows viewer to see presenter and slides.
Above: Here we can see both presenter and slides in the same frame.
Easy method for sharing?
I'm interested to hear what you think are the best methods for sharing presentations over the web. Please feel free to point to effective on-line examples of taking a live presentation and making it available for the web.