The Slide-Deck Alternative

I finished yesterday’s post with the idea that the tools we use often dictate how we use them. Usually, this is just what we expect. Sometimes, however, we need to break free and try something else. 

Miro is an excellent example of “something else.”

I started using Miro (like many others) around 2020 during COVID. Suddenly, the physical whiteboard was no longer a viable option, even for a 1:1 discussion with a colleague from across the hall. There was literally no hall to cross. Miro provided a feature-rich yet lightweight platform for online collaboration before similar (still inferior) options were embedded in Zoom and Teams. 

But COVID is largely behind us. Many of us have returned to the office for at least part of the week. So, why use Miro, and how is it related to everything we’ve discussed this week?

Apart from using it for remote collaboration, which is still (and will continue to be) a common scenario, I find Miro refreshing in driving me to try new ways to interact (and present stuff) even when everyone’s present in the same room. 

First, Miro does not create a bias for linearity. Instead of a linear sequence of slides, you work on an infinite whiteboard. You are not limited in its dimensions or how things are arranged on the board. Of course, you can create structure and order; it’s just not something the tool enforces. So, if you are looking for a non-linear way to manage a discussion, Miro is perfect. 

Even more important is that Miro is designed for collaboration, unlike the typical presentation tools. Which means that whatever you present on screen is not necessarily your creation; it is created together by the group. If Generative Communication is all about co-creation, Miro is a perfect fit. 

I can prepare, for example, a few options for a solution (like in a traditional slide deck) but then ask the team to add additional alternatives. They can do so directly on the shared whiteboard, and everyone will see the new contributions in real-time. Then, we can vote on the proposed solutions, again directly on the board, where everyone can see it. This is an entirely different experience than a traditional presentation-based discussion, even if we are all sitting in front of each other in a conference room. 

And that’s the simplest use case you can imagine when using Miro instead of a traditional slide deck. 

All this is to say, there are more options than conducting a meeting with or without a presentation. There are even more options than a linear vs. non-linear slide deck. Many of these options become apparent (even natural) when you experiment with different tools. 

It’s not that PowerPoint or Keynote are not good tools. The problem is they are limited by what their designers envisioned. Any tool is. And that’s a good enough reason to try something new now and then.

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