The evolution of the perfect presentation

May 22, 1990 marked a memorable day in the history of meetings; Microsoft launched PowerPoint as part of Microsoft Office. PowerPoint is now ubiquitous. The question is: what on earth did we do before that fateful day? 

There have, of course, always been flipcharts. These days, flipcharts are best used for ‘ad hoc’ purposes, capturing inputs from meetings, illustrating key points or exploring ideas. They’re ideal for brainstorming, and bring a sense of immediacy and involvement.

Challenging graphics

For those of a certain age, however, meeting memories revolve primarily around ‘foils’ – more formally known as acetates. A4-sized sheets of transparent plastic, used in conjunction with an overhead projector that could be found in virtually every meeting room. ‘Orator’ was the font of choice for text, as it comprised only capital and small capital characters.

Graphics, however, were somewhat more challenging, and seldom moved past pie charts. These could either be hand drawn using felt pen (but you needed to remember to use permanent marker, or they would smudge) – or you (or, preferably, your PA if you were lucky enough to have one) could meticulously cut out appropriately shaped pieces of coloured transparent material and carefully stick them in place. 

Medium of choice

For more permanent, regularly-given presentations, 35mm slides were the medium of choice – especially if the desire was to create an impression of high quality and prestige. 35mm slides were, for example, regularly used to deliver a corporate overview presentation. When delivered well, these presentations invariably achieved the desired effect, 35mm was not without its disadvantages. First: 35mm presentations were incredibly expensive to produce (and to change), requiring top notch photography and the services of a talented graphics designer. Second: the ‘prestige’ effect was somewhat diminished by one or more slides having been inserted into the carousel upside down, or the wrong way round.

Dawn of a new era

Given the drawbacks of flipcharts, foils and 35mm, it’s no surprise that PowerPoint was welcomed with open arms. Easily portable, easily usable, easily updated – it seemed like the perfect answer to a presenter’s prayers. Little did we know…

Presentations have, though, moved on considerably over the years – and the same is true for the meeting spaces in which they’re given. Where once, an overhead projector and a well worn screen were as much as you could hope for, meeting rooms can now routinely – and, importantly, cost-effectively – be equipped not only with sophisticated presentation, sharing, audio and control systems, but with solutions that are intuitive and easy to use.

More productive, more efficient

That, in turn, has helped to make meetings significantly more productive and efficient. The simplicity and speed of set-up means that time that was once spent locating equipment and sockets, making the necessary adjustments, connecting participants’ laptops and so on is no longer being wasted. That makes time spent in the meeting room more productive – and, even better: because it is now far easier to share information and to collaborate, the meeting itself is likely to have a more productive outcome.

No technology has been more transformative in making that possible than wireless.

That’s why Midwich has created the W.O.W. (Work On Wireless) Space. You can take advantage of our expertise and extensive product range within the online portal, to enable you to create and configure collaborative meeting spaces in almost any environment. There, you’ll find the latest technologies and products to deliver better meetings with the maximum simplicity and convenience. They’ll allow you to deliver better presentations too.