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In the Footsteps of Giant SSGs
From DLP Projectors to Flat-Screen TVs, It’s Easier Today for Clubs
In Steven Spielberg’s science fiction thriller “Minority Report,” Tom Cruise operated a computer display that filled an entire wall, using hand gestures to navigate and interact with the device. Although most of us would see a full-wall computer display as being a tad over the top, some of us could see the benefit of replacing the two (or three) widescreen flat-panel monitors on our desks with even more video firepower.
In any group setting, though, bigger is definitely better when it comes to presenting visual information. Until about a decade ago, BetterInvesting (then known as NAIC) members could purchase a large, plastic-coated cardboard Stock Selection Guide designed for use in teaching classes and conducting investment club meetings. Using a set of colored dry-erase markers, a presenter could manually complete an SSG and present it to a small group, even erasing and making adjustments on the fly.
Of course, presenting more than one stock required having multiple giant SSGs on hand or else taking a 20-minute break in between companies while the instructor erased and re-entered all the data. Today, the “Giant SSG” is, if not a collector’s item, a remnant of the past. But the idea of large displays is still useful in a club meeting setting.
Many investment clubs are now fortunate to have use of an LCD (liquid crystal display) projector, either one that’s provided in their meeting space (such as in an office or school), borrowed, or in the case of a larger, more-established club, even a unit the club purchased with club assets.
With a computer, screen and projector, you not only can display stock studies from Toolkit 6 to help in making buy and sell decisions, the club treasurer can also display the Valuation Statement, Member Status Report and other reports from the myICLUB.com website. The education officer can demonstrate new investment websites as well, or project slides from a PowerPoint presentation. With a set of small speakers plugged in, the club could also tune in to a replay of an archive from the ICLUB.com or BetterInvesting website and gain valuable insight into selecting stocks and managing a portfolio.
Many of these uses have the additional advantage of helping clubs to become increasingly paperless, cutting down on the reams of paper SSGs and reports that immediately go into the recycling box (not the trash can, one hopes!) after the meeting.
For clubs that don’t have a projector at hand, it might be worth the effort for your members to ask at work to see whether any might be available to borrow overnight to use for a club meeting.
You might also be surprised at how inexpensive the current generation of projectors are. The LCD projector has largely been surpassed by the DLP (digital light processing) projector, which doesn’t use costly light bulbs or require filters to be cleaned.
For around $200 you could purchase a new unit suitable for use in a small group setting; there are even “pocket” projectors designed for iPhones, iPads and other mobile computing devices that might be of use. Some clubs have been able to buy used projectors from equipment dealers at very good discounts.
As more and more homes switch to widescreen televisions, another possibility worth exploring is whether your new TV has an input jack for a video cable from a personal computer.
Our relatively new flat-panel television has just such capabilities, as some friends and family recently learned as we plugged in a laptop to display several hundred favorite photographs of our latest vacation.
This option could be a terrific low-cost way to enhance your club meetings with an interactive visual display that all members can view simultaneously.
Douglas is ICLUBcentral's product manager, helping develop the company's programs including Toolkit 6, myICLUB.com, and the Investor Advisory Service. He is also the author of several investing books, including The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Direct Stock Investing, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Investing, The Armchair Millionaire, and Investment Clubs for Dummies.