Present Like A Pro, Use An iPad

Minimal Folio App Screenshot

Minimal Folio App Screenshot from my iPad – Art by Nicole Cleary

In this horrific economy, everyone needs to step-up their game when it comes to presentations. Whether its keeping the job you have or searching for a new one, presentations can either make you seem professional and on the ball or unprepared and nervous. Obviously the content of the presentation is important as well, but as a presenter, you are essentially trying to “sell” the idea you are presenting to your audience. You need to stick in their mind, and set yourself apart from everyone else who has presented to them. One way I’ve found to do that, is by using an iPad. The iPad, as a media, will work best for you if you’re presenting to 5 people or less.


No matter what field you are in, I believe that looking “technologically forward” in your presentation is not a bad thing. You don’t have to be a tech guru, just know what you have and how to use it. Some say using an iPad in a presentation is a gimmick, but from my experience, this not the case. It looks absolutely horrible if you get to an interview, and take 15+ minutes to fiddle with your laptop to get things open and working, searching for files on a thumb-drive, or flattening and organizing your paperwork to make it look perfect. Don’t take that chance. You don’t want your audience to be bored and frustrated right out of the gate and waste valuable time. With an iPad that is charged and loaded with your presentation, you almost eliminate that risk. Every time I use the iPad for one of my presentations, it creates a lot of interest. The most common comments I receive are, “oh wow are you presenting on an iPad?”,  “you’re very organized, I’m impressed”, and “this is great, I wish I had a company iPad to use for presentations”. In general, the audience will tend to sit-up straighter, stop fiddling with their own cell phones, and look at you as a professional worth listening to.

If you don’t have an iPad, I can understand if you think that buying one just for presentations is not worth it. However, the first generation iPad right now is not too expensive. While having the latest iPad is flashy, it’s really not necessary to win over your audience. I currently use the first generation iPad for my presentations, and I find it’s all I need.

So getting down to business, let’s say you have your iPad in hand. Now what’s the next step? Getting your iPad loaded up with an application that will make your presentation shine. Try to leave yourself at least four hours to prepare prior to your presentation.

If your presentation consists of mostly images and very little text and bulleted talking points, your best bet would be to download the iPad app Minimal Folio. Since most of my presentations consist of showing my visual portfolio to potential clients, Minimal Folio is the app I use. The app gives you a clean, quick and easy way to show and manage your presentation. To get your files into Minimal Folio you could email them to yourself or you could use the Logmein app. Logmein can get files from your computer at home or wherever, and copy them to your iPad device. You could also get a free Dropbox account, and use Dropbox to transfer files onto your iPad. Once you’ve done that, either open your image files or PDFs with Minimal Folio, or open Minimal Folio, click the camera icon, select all the images or PDFs you want to use and click import. You can now start managing your presentation. I like to group images I use in certain presentations into different folders. For example, I have many images of e-commerce website designs, and frequently may only show that work, so I grouped all those images in a folder labeled e-commerce. Inside each folder, I then proceed to group images by client and/or project into different columns. If you are showing portfolio work, always put your most recent and best work towards the top and front.

If your presentation consists mostly of text and bulleted talking points, your best bet would be to download the iPad app Keynote. Whether you’ve used a mac or a pc to create your presentation document (I’d imagine you either have a PowerPoint file, a Keynote file, or a PDF file) you should be able to load it onto the keynote app with no problem. The easiest way I’ve found for getting my presentation onto an iPad, is by using iCloud. You could also get your presentation onto your iPad by emailing it to yourself, using the Logmein app or using the Dropbox app. The Keynote app will allow you to add/delete/edit text, add animation, add new slides, reorganize slides, and a slew of other things, but these are the features you will likely use most. The main thing to keep in mind is, keep it simple. You are already on a flashy iPad, your presentation should simple and to the point, especially in regards to the look and feel. The text should be clean, I would advise using Helvetica. The animation between slides should be clean, I would advise using a simple and short fade animation. Using color is great, but keep it simple and readable. Neon text will not be your friend here. Consistency is also key, use the same color and font size for each title and the same color and font size for each description/bullet.

Be sure to do a few test runs of your presentation in front of a friend or someone else you trust to ensure its cohesive. This will also get you familiar with how you should use your iPad for the presentation. You’ll want to look experienced with the iPad when you present in front of your audience. When you are finished making changes, exit out of all the other apps open on your iPad and keep the battery as charged as possible until your presentation. If you leave just your presentation open on your iPad right before walking in, all you’ll have to do is show up and turn it on.

Now you are ready to present, go in there and be confident.

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32 Comments on “Present Like A Pro, Use An iPad”

  1. i agree. Presenting yourself as someone who can handle new technology with ease will make you look as if you have that little plus that some other people that may not know as much as you do. Plus it give you a look professional.

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      Absolutely, anything that will give you a leg-up on the competition and give you confidence in your presentation can make it successful.

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