published 12 June 2012
I’ve been presenting at design and web conferences since 2005 and, as best as I can recall, I’ve been using Keynote since version 1.0, which debuted a couple years earlier.
Last month, for the first time in 7 years, the machine accompanying me on stage was running something other than Keynote. And the machine was more device than mechanism.
As I took the stage, I was hoping to surprise the audience with a new form of presenting, as well as shake things up a little for the speaking industry.
Rewind a few months: There I was in my office lounge chair, watching a Khan video on my iPad as I began my day. I knew I had two presentations coming up, one for DIBI and the other for Interlink 2012. So as Sal eulogized the virtues of quadratic equations, my mind wandered to a place where I imagined myself doing the same on stage. And then it hit me: Why not?
‘Paper’ for iPad had just been released a few weeks earlier, and it wasn’t long before I put two and two together. I had also been considering using mathematical equations, of all things, to describe my topic (creativity). Things were coming together nicely.
Following some informal testing with several styluses (which I hope to write about later), I began rehearsing. It quickly became apparent that the more complex sketches would require too much time on stage, especially while trying to talk at the same time. So I created a few canned sketches, such as these:
These were interspersed throughout the presentation to add a little variety. As for the on-stage sketches? My illustration skills severely lacking, they weren’t as pretty. But I wasn’t after pretty. I was after a new form of engaging the audience during a presentation, and in this case it was seeing words and equations sketched live in Khan fashion. Here are a few pages that were sketched on stage:
Not as sexy, but it worked.
To steal a few lines from the script for my presentation, everything we create is based on existing ideas, existing matter. Ultimately our ideas are others’ ideas—reincarnated, reimagined, and refined.
I’m banking on other speakers taking this idea—using Paper for on-stage sketching—and reincarnating, reimagining, and refining it. After all, conferences could use a little more Sal and Paper.
Update: Some of you have requested video demonstrating this style of presenting. Jina Bolton captured a brief snippet from my talk at Interlink 2012.
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