I have done a fair amount of presentations in my life – some good, some less so. This past year, I’ve seen some amazing presentations as part of my work with Hyper Island, and I have been teaching and training both new and existing speakers. So what's the secret to giving a great presentation?
Turns out, a great presentation is not about what you have to say. Instead, a great presentation is when you get the audience to join you on a journey, where they find themselves in a new place at the end.
This journey, however, is often obscured by hundreds of slides, examples, and anecdotes that are not told well enough to be truly entertaining or emotionally moving, and not deep enough to be intellectually stimulating. Our tools are partly to blame: we make presentations in PowerPoint and Keynote or some other software that make it too easy to make too many slides.
As a way to force myself to keep it simple, I've been experimenting with using Paper for my presentations in the past few months. These are my findings.
To start, it’s worth noting that the previous version of Paper was limited to hand-drawn pages, but the new Paper in the App Store now lets you import images and use text, in addition to sketching.
First of all, I love it. This may seem trivial, but having tools I love using is crucial. For me, my iPad and iPhone is less distracting than my laptop, and I'm more likely to go find and stay in a nice environment to get work done.
Plus, the new grid layout in Paper makes it very easy to get a sense of the storyboard:
Now, when I travel I leave my laptop at home and just bring my iPad. Sure, I can make a Keynote presentation on my iPad, but it's a tedious process, and something I avoid doing.
Presenting directly from Paper via AirPlay can look a bit gimmicky, but I like it. You don’t have to worry about peripheral matters, like using the best transitions. And for the most conservative audience I can easily export my pages from Paper to Keynote, effectively hiding the tool.
The combination of imported images, hand-drawn elements, and text is powerful enough to be truly useful, yet simple enough to make the presentation process enjoyable. Plus, I’m less likely to include unnecessary text slides. That's good!
Here's my process for creating and giving presentations with Paper:
- Capture initial ideas in Paper on your iPhone. (Typically, I type out questions and add a few ideas in the app to visualize the presentation flow.)
- Based on my initial notes, I do some rapid sketching in Paper on iPad.
- Search for images and videos online to go with the presentation. Save images to iCloud Photos. If I want to save videos, I use my laptop and save the clips to iCloud Drive. (Try to trim video clips down to the shortest possible length.)
- Back to Paper: import images, organize my ideas, draw graphs, and charts where necessary
- Do a run-through using Paper
- Present in front of an audience
There are a few minor downsides:
- You can’t use a normal "clicker" to switch slides. This is not a big issue. Instead, try to have fewer slides.
- You can’t play videos in Paper. To work around this, I store clips in iCloud and simply swap over to play.