Dave Briggs put out a shout on Twitter yesterday for tips on doing presentations with an iPhone.

I responded to say that I wasn’t a regular presenter, but that I had used this technology for presenting, and had a few tips.  It was suggested that these were useful and that I should blog them so here you go.

In General

Quick note: I’ve only done this (successfully) with various combinations of Apple kit. I’m sure it’s possible with PC’s and Android too, but they aren’t covered here. Feel free to add your own tips for those technologies in the comments, and I’ll update this post if there are good tips.

Dave was going to actually use his iPhone to drive the screen of the presentation.  This isn’t how I would normally set things up. Mostly because you’ll need a cable long enough to get to the podium or whatever you’re speaking from, or because it tethers you.

A better approach is to use the phone as a remote and to connect the screen to an iPad or laptop.

If you’ve got all-Apple kit then Keynote does all this for you. But SlideShark is a good alternative for connecting up a iPhone and iPad.

The things that the practical tips try to avoid are:

  • You don’t want the screen going blank or locking
  • You don’t want notifications popping up
  • You don’t want to lose power
  • You don’t want to have the wrong gear with you

The Tips

And so to the practical tips:

  1. Have power. Take chargers for your device. Having the screen on is a big power drain. You’ll want to stay plugged in. (If you’re using a phone as a remote, you probably don’t want to be plugged in an tethered, so make sure you’re charged up before you start)
  2. Have the right cables. Do you know if you’re plugging into HDMI, VGA, or something else? Do you know how far from it you will be?  You’ll want the appropriate adaptors and you’ll want cables long enough to reach whatever you’re plugging in to. If you don’t know then take multiple adaptors, and have a backup plan.
  3. Clean your screen. What’s your device’s wallpaper? What apps might you have on display if you’re projecting your devices home screen to the world?  I’m not saying that you’re likely to have anything dodgy, but think about what you’re home screen/lock screen/background might say about you and clean it up beforehand if necessary.
  4. Download the presentation before you go.  Do you know if you’ll have Wifi?  Will it be working? Avoid the hassle. Make sure your presentation is downloaded to your device(s) before you go. And have a backup plan too – a copy on a USB stick?
  5. Use “Do not disturb” mode or, if you can “Airplane mode”. Basically you don’t want calls coming in or email notifications, so set do-not-disturb mode on (which prevents notifications apart from those from “favourited” contacts) or, even better, set airplane mode on. You can do this from the control centre on an iPhone or iPad – swipe up from the bottom of the screen to get this:2014-10-01_13_40_53-annotatedPRO TIP: Did you know you can do selective airplane mode?  You can tap the airplane mode button, to turn all communications off, and then tap the Wifi or Bluetooth button to turn that individual service on. This is great if you’re using your phone as, say, a bluetooth remote. You can turn off all comms except bluetooth (as shown in the screen shot above).

Good luck!

I’m not a great believer in luck – I’d rather be prepared. Technology is a great enabler: I can now run a presentation from an iPad using my smartphone as a remote control. That’s pretty cool. But don’t assume it will work. Always have a backup plan.

I’m a bit belt-and-braces with this stuff because I’ve not done it often, and when I have it’s been in low-key places with limited facilities.  As you build you experience of using these tools together you can probably stop having so many backup plans.

But I hope these tips are useful, and that your presenting goes well!