OK Glass, Presentation Please…

August 1, 2013

I’m sure everyone has been there at some point in their career: called upon to present in front of a live (and likely important) audience. This leaves those of us who have outsourced our short-term memories to Google and iCal, and are unable to memorise and reel off new speeches like politicians, with a problem to solve: how to handle the need for notes?

Standing on stage holding pages of notes or even cards to read from won’t really do – it’s a bit unconfident and old-fashioned. Not very ‘TED’ in other words (unless you’re Jamie Oliver!). The same goes for a lectern to stand behind and read your typewritten pages – it does the job but it’s a bit dry and academic.

TED, Jamie Oliver

The slightly more modern version of this is ‘presenter mode’ in Powerpoint or Keynote – it’s less obvious you’re looking at the notes on your laptop but still means you’re rooted to the spot. Much better if the notes display appears on a monitor in front of the stage so you can move around and still see your prompts. But you just can’t guarantee the venue will be set-up that way.

You could flick through an iPad while you’re talking which definitely looks better than paper notes, but it’s not ideal is it? For one thing it’s a bit awkward to hold and scroll with one hand while holding a clicker in the other.

Why not just learn the speech then, you might say, it doesn’t need to be word perfect, and the slides themselves will contain visual and written cues? Fair point, but what if you have a very constrained amount of time – like a five minute pitch slot say – and you need to script your talk very tightly? In those situations wandering off script even briefly a couple of times can leave you 30 seconds over time by the end, which could mean being cut off before you finish.

Google glass presentation

It was one such recent occasion (we won’t reveal which!) combined with a sneaky trial of Google Glass that got us thinking that perhaps this would make a decent use case for the augmented reality wearable tech. After all simply being able to access ‘presenter mode’ visual cues and slide notes anywhere on stage would solve all of the above problems.

Perhaps the more adventurous or narcissistic presenters would also like to see a live Twitter feed with live reactions to their talk? Or record the presentation and stream it live to an online audience with related reference links attached?

Google glass presentation

Of course you’ve still got to get past the issue of standing on stage looking like a cyborg. But then again, imagine not having to memorize your speeches again. Ever.

Sold. “OK Glass, presentation please”…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andy Hobsbawm

Andy Hobsbawm

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