A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.
Over the last ten years there has been a rapid shift in what is expected from a presentation. Audiences are no longer prepared to be bored by dense text or confusing graphs — even bullet points are slowly being consigned to the dusty files of clip art.
Who would have considered a couple of years ago that we would be creating beautiful slides on our tablets and phones while sitting on a train on the way to work?
Here are a few brilliant apps that will assist you in getting your ideas across and help you to be a better presenter.
For me, Keynote from Apple remains the most versatile and powerful presentation app for a mobile device. Its themes are beautifully designed with simple and slick transitions that are not distracting. Most importantly, it’s very simple to use. If you have an iPad then I would say use Keynote. Your colleagues will think you’ve hired a design team.
Paper by 53 is a beautiful and uncluttered app that allows you to get your ideas down before attempting to create slides. You can draw, sketch, outline, write, colour, and blend. We all love this app at Edison Red, as it allows our ideas to be free before being caught up by the restrictions of presentation software. You can really allow your imagination to run riot, often leading to more thoughtful slide decks.
This is another well-constructed and well-designed piece of presentation software. Haiku Deck follows a simple three-step process: apply your text, find your images, and arrange your layout. HaikuDeck is not as versatile as Keynote yet but it’s in its early days and it will be interesting to see how it develops.
The TEDtalks App is a must for anyone who presents. If you don’t know TED it stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and was conceived in 1984 by American Architect Richard Saul Wurman.
In 2006, the first six TED talks were posted online. Ken Robinson’s “Do schools kill creativity?” was one of them, and is now one of the most-watched TED talks of all time with over 25 million views (so far!).
Having the app on your phone or tablet gives you easy access to great opening lines, powerful ways to end a presentation, and loads of great ideas to steal and adapt within your own talks.
Deck is another very recent piece of software that takes the headache out of creating slides. I used this to create a simple presentation on my iPhone in less than 10 minutes, plugged it into a big screen, and presto. You are supplied with eight free and very slick templates and you can download others for around $2.99. If you’re in a hurry and your message is simple, then you can have a lot of fun with Deck.
OmniGraphSketcher for iPad
This clever app makes it easy to create clean and precise graphs with lines, curves, shaded regions, and more. OmniGraphSketcher allows you to use multi-touch gestures to chart your points and draw curves and bar graphs.
It opens with four sample documents, which allow you to explore how they have been created. You can then duplicate these to create your own graphs.
Your graphs can be as simple or as complex as needed. It’s also a lot of fun to use.
If you need to create a similar look to your images to drop into your presentation, then Snapseed is an extremely versatile photo-editing app that’s got a handful of awards to its name. It’s extremely simple to use with very high-quality results and it’s free.
Who knows? In the next ten years, Google may have extended their glasses so that we might just imagine our slides and then watch them being put together right before our eyes on our very own ‘think and dream’ software…
David Bliss is a director and co-founder of Edison Red, a training company specializing in all things Presentation, Story, and Visual Design.