The modern talking pad

I think this is a big idea, but your mileage may vary.

I've been having great success with a hybrid of the yellow legal pad and a printed presentation from Keynote (or Powerpoint). I use it during small meetings where more interactivity is useful, and where the group is too small for a laptop to be the best way to present slides (I think running a presentation says, "I talk, you listen…")

Here's how it works:

  1. Create a presentation. A good one, not one filled with bullet points. Instead, graphs, images, a few words to anchor a discussion. A page might be nothing but a blank 3 x 3 grid.
  2. On every page, remove some of the information.
  3. Print the presentation out (horizontal, not portrait).
  4. Bring it to Staples and have them spiral bind it with covers. (Not that cheap plastic comb, though.)
  5. Get a good pen.

Now, when you make your presentation, sit next to the person you're meeting with and go through the booklet page by page, writing directly on each page. As you work your way through the ideas in the booklet, the two of you can talk about what's in front of you and mark it up.

It's not a brochure, it's the outcome of a working session. Leave it behind when you go.