ne of the biggest challenges of taking notes during meetings is scribbling down all relevant facts while digesting presented information in order to offer insights. One either ends up with a lively discussion but no record of what went on, or lots of notes but no personal contributions to the proceedings. And what about the tedious job of transcribing data and diagrams from flip charts, only to discover later that notes are incomplete or illegible?
Digital technology has revolutionized the art of note-taking by producing electronic copyboards that can print out notes made during meetings or transfer those notes to PCs, where they can be saved as computer documents and sent out to others on networks. These modern-day blackboards enable meetings to be shorter and more focused. Participants are able to give their undivided attention during brainstorming sessions because they know notations will be automatically documented.
Speakers use markers to write on erasable boards generally made of steel coated with magnetic porcelain. Infrared laser beams scan images on copyboard surfaces and-depending on the product-either print them out on thermal paper or send them to digital processors that display corresponding images on computer monitors.
Electronic copyboards-or whiteboards-are available from companies such as Barco, Microfield Graphics, nView Corp., Panasonic and Quartet Ovonics. The products, which range in size from handheld models and desktop units to conference room wall mounts, cost between $1,000 and $5,000.
Digital technology also has transformed another prevalent presentation tool-the slide show. Images from 35mm slides now can be stored on compact discs for easy viewing on photo CD players from Kodak, Philips and Sony. Such products help turn slide shows into multimedia extravaganzas.
Software advances are making it easier to create computer-generated slide shows. New versions of programs such as Lotus' Freelance and Microsoft's PowerPoint are more user-friendly. And Software Publishing Corp.'s new ASAP WordPower package even lets computer users distribute slide shows via the Internet.