How I Work: Presentations

How it works, via Idea FlightMaybe this is something that will become a series of sorts here. Seems like a nice idea considering I last talked about documents and collaboration. This time around, I’d like to talk about presentations and how I use them and how I’d like to better utilize them.

Presentations are pretty key to much of what I do with collaboration and training. I actually don’t spend a long time creating slide decks or rehearsing, but I do spend a good deal of time studying methods of presenting and trying out new things with either my tools or presentation styles.

In college, I did the standard “outline and media deck” presentation. I never liked flash cards and considered them to be pointless. Instead, I made sure that my Palm Pilot PDA had a small outline on it and pretty much spoke from there. Later on, because of college and professional endeavors, that outline actually became the slide deck itself.

In respect to the tools, I prefer to use my mobile phone and the Zeemote Bluetooth joystick to present from. Since obtaining an N95 in 2007, I’ve been wedded to the TV-Out functionality which allows me to connect to most projectors via the composite video connectors. And yes, I’ve had the situation of getting a phone call in the middle of a presentation (BibleTech 2010 actually). But, usually speaking, its a pretty painless process, and exercises the message and power of mobile devices.

I retired from using PowerPoint in 2007 as well. I began using Eric Meyer’s S5 Slideshow System because it offered a more versatile and accessible approach to developing, using, and archiving slideshows. With such a system, there’d be no need for anything except a web browser, and it was even (mostly) mobile-friendly. Given that I could write in HTML as easily as normal writing, this was a no-brainer move for me. Not long after getting the hang of using this, I created a branded deck style for  MMM’s presentations.

Most recently, a new application has caught my eye that I’d like to get into my presentation toolkit. Idea Flight allows a person to take a presentation that’s been saved into the PDF format, and instead of putting it on a projector for you to display it, its actually shared across iPad devices. Now, that points to a few limitations: (1) PDF format for the presentation and, (2) the iPad-only compatibility. I can understand the reason for both, but the former only makes Idea Flight useful enough for me in iPad-oriented sessions. I would love something like this for my mobile that can use S5 though (or even S5 from the iPad since I create/edit presentations on there).

Lastly, in respect to presentations, I do utilize Dropbox as a sharing place for them. With the exception of those that I’m posting at MMM (which are saved to the site there), if someone asks for a presentation deck from me, its probably going to come from a Dropbox link. And since my presentations are quite light, that means they can get a URL instead of a downloading a presentation that has a ton of media embedded within it.

Some interesting experiments that I’ve been trying with presentations recently has been the addition of QR Codes within the presentations themselves. Especially for MMM presentations, getting people to pull out and use their mobile devices in ways they might not have done before is part of the message. The QR Codes point to the presentation itself (just in case someone wants to download/view it later and its bookmarked on their device), my contact information, and links to materials that better emphasize points on various slides. Sure, I could embed links and other pictures, but I have more fun with using QR Codes to do that part.

All in all, it makes presentations a pretty fun experience for me. I’ve always enjoyed getting up in front of groups and just sharing the time. There’s no fear of public speaking with me. I’ve got the mic, and therefore I’ve got the power (hehehe). Sharing what you know with others, and giving them more than just something for their eyes and ears is what makes presentations the most fun. And when that extra movement can cause folks to better learn about what’s in their lives/hands, I’m having an even more fun time.