Five tips for presentations on the iPad

The iPad is a great tool for presentations. Some of the advantages are obvious such as portability, the gorgeous screen, long battery life, media capabilities, etc. Others are less apparent, but their impact might be even deeper. The iPad truly offers us a chance to get away from linear, front-facing Powerpoint-style presentations to a more conversational and participative way of presenting our thoughts and ideas. Below you find five tips for successfully presenting with your iPad.

The right context
Of course the iPad works extremely well as a laptop replacement for speeches in front of a large audience. However, carrying an iPad during a speech can be fatiguing. The strengths of the iPad really comes to play in small groups, for example in seated conference room settings, where the presentation is projected on an external screen, or in occasional presentations for two or three people over lunch.

The right preparation
Although some apps already offer editing functionalities on the iPad itself, such as Apple’s Keynote App, preparing a presentation is often less cumbersome on your desktop and with the presentation program you are used to. When you are used to Powerpoint it makes great sense to stick to it. However, the support of PPT files on the iPad is not excellent (distorted fonts, images, etc.), so you are better off by saving your presentation as a PDF and then importing it on the iPad

The right message
The iPad screen is 1024×768, so you should design your presentation with those dimensions in mind. Make the visual elements of your presentation simple and strong for clearly communicating your message. The same goes for text. Keep it down to as few words as possible. Include media such as videos, images or links to the web that support your message. This is where the interactive capabilities of the iPad really come into play.

The right tools
For presentations on external screens you can use use Apple’s HDMI or VGA adapter. In addition, with iOS 5 you will be able to mirror your iPad screen wirelessly to Airplay ready devices. There are plenty of apps to choose from (see here and here). Presentation Link might be your choice if you like to hold nonlinear presentations and integrate videos, PDFs and web content into engaging interactive slideshows.

Make a difference
In smaller groups, the iPad is great to change what used to be a one-way presentation to an open conversation and dialogue. Ask questions and engage dialogue. Also for public presentations, try to make your presentation more real-time and interactive by connecting it to your Twitter stream or collect instant feedback through the integrated surveys. Used in the right way, the iPad will definitely be an ideal companion for bringing your point across.

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