Each of my webcasts—or rather the first five, solo webcasts—consists of a narrated and annotated PowerPoint presentation.
That sounds simple enough, but it’s not the norm in the webcast world. Webcasts for the most part consist of phoned-in audio or talking-head video. If there’s a PowerPoint presentation, the audience is invited to view it on-screen or print it out, then go through the slides as prompted by the presenter.
I knew that that approach wouldn’t work for me, for two reasons:
- Given that my topic is so text-based, I use text-heavy PowerPoint slides, so I knew I’d need a way to link my audio more closely to the PowerPoint presentation.
- Speaking for an hour non-stop is very different from giving a live seminar. I wanted to be able to edit the webcast, if only to ensure that I covered the territory in an hour and no longer.
I was able to address these issues by using two technologies. I’ve been using one for over a year; the other was new to me.
Wacom Graphire Tablet
The first is my trusty Wacom Graphire tablet. I use it in my live seminars to write on my PowerPoint slides so the participants can see. I use it to highlight a give word or phrase, or show the changes I’d make to a bit of traditional contract language.
The tablet is light, inexpensive, and does exactly what I need it to do. It has a Bluetooth connection to my laptop, so I can roam around the seminar room at will. And I’ve programmed the stylus so that with one click I can delete all my annotations on a given slide.
Because the tablet is simply a flat plastic surface rather than a screen, I watch the screen when I write, rather than the tablet. It requires the sort of hand-eye coordination that I imagine is required for arthroscopic surgery, except that a wobbly line on the screen poses less of a concern than a slip of a miniature scalpel.
The other technology is Camtasia Studio, a software that allows you to record your PC screen. In particular, it allows you to record PowerPoint presentations. Camtasia comes with a PowePoint add-in in the form of a toolbar in PowerPoint that you use to initiate your recording.
By using Camtasia, I was able to capture my PowerPoint annotations. And I was able to edit, and do take (after take after take) of a given slide, until I was satisfied.
Another benefit is that the audio is crytal clear, compared with phoned-in audio.
The result of using these two technologies is that in terms of making a lot of information readily accessible, these webcasts are exceptional.
Of course, that has no bearing on whether yours truly is worth listening to. But there’s enough information on this site, and in my book, for you to draw your own conclusions on that score.