Video presentations on Zentation.comFor most presentations that I have attended, the accompanying visuals are what Garr Reynolds from Presentation Zen refers to as a slideument, an unfortunate compromise between slides and a document. On the one hand, these slideuments are used as suboptimal hand-outs that are distributed after the talk or can be found in the conference proceedings. More importantly, however, these are bad because research has shown that it is more difficult to process information if it is coming at you in the written and spoken form at the same time. So although such slideuments are aimed to enhance the message, they obfuscate it instead. Try it yourself. Next time somebody presents to you a slideument, listen only to the speaker and ignore the slides. Can you focus better on his message?
In all honesty I have to admit here that all my own previous presentations were built around such slides, because this is how you're supposed to do it, right? Everybody does it like that! Note that I write "built around", and this brings me to a second nasty side effect of slideuments: They draw attention away from the speaker. This is probably an important reason for them to be so popular: It makes it easy for people to hide behind their slides. (see Garr Reynolds' eye-opening post about "naked presentations"). But your audience doesn't come to see your slides, then they might as well have read your article or whatever. They come to see you, and make a connection with you.
What I'm trying to say is that slides alone are not enough to transfer your message. You can either read an article, which mostly lacks the (emotional) connection with the writer, or you can view a video of a presentation. However, from most video presentations that you can find on for instance Google Video it is impossible to read the slides, so you're missing out on a large part of the talk. The obvious solution would be to somehow be able to see the slides and the video at the same time. This is exactly what Zentation.com does. Moreover, you can embed such presentations into your blog or website. As a test I include below a talk by Guy Kawasaki on the Art of Innovation.
Got interested? Check out the excellent review by Robin Good.
Update/Warning: It seems the application can only work with Powerpoint slides as for now.