Presenting: the iPad

4 02 2010

I know, I know, another iPad post – don’t worry, I’m only using it as a means of introducing an important topic, I promise!

We’ve seen a lot of people trying to work out exactly who these tablet/slate devices are for and where they’ll be used; one suggestion we’ve seen is in presentations, both at conferences and internally in business settings. Fortunately some have been quick to point out that the benefits beyond a one-on-one meeting will be severely limited (put forward particularly intelligently and eloquently here) and I find myself agreeing that there will be a use for these devices in small internal meetings where the ability to annotate would help clarify rather than confuse a slide.
one-on-one meeting
However, in front of a large business audience at a conference slides should not be annotated or overly complicated. Think of all the great presentations you’ve seen, the most engaging speakers, the conferences you still remember. Chances are all of these presenters had one major thing in common: simple slides, free from excess information, writing and bullet points.

A great example of this comes in the recent movie “up in the air” where Clooney’s character delivers presentations sans slides, using a rucksack as his only visual aid. His presentation is fairly engaging and he gets the audience involved and using both sides of their brain, however, later in the movie he speaks at a larger venue and uses a spinning rucksack as a visual aid on a big screen and suddenly even this simple aid becomes a massive distraction. It’s like trying to watch the television with the sound off whilst listening to your friend speak. It’s all about choosing the best visual for the job, speaking over a video, cluttering your slides and having excess animation will all draw attention from you and your company’s story.

Using simple slides and delivering successful presentations is something we’ll be looking at a lot as it’s one of the hardest skills for a speaker to learn.