David Papp Blog

Stop using a laptop for presentations. Use your phone instead!

As transcribed from my video: https://youtu.be/HP_Ta0YCDQY

“I’ve been asked many times by people what kind of equipment that I use when I go out and I make presentations. I used to carry a Windows laptop, and that was a mistake. You’d go and you be ready for a presentation. You’d be going, and then all of a sudden, it would force those updates on you, and you’d be embarrassed. You’re sitting in front of this crowd, this computer is updating, it needs to do several reboots, and you’re just stuck.


The next thing I started doing was carrying around a MacBook laptop, which was a much more positive experience. It was fantastic, but it was still a laptop that you had to power it on, and it still had some updates that wanted to occur with Microsoft Office if you’re using PowerPoint. It had to boot up, you had to synchronize files.

By far, the quickest and most convenient presentations that I give now are using just a tablet or my phone. So with a phone, there is Microsoft Office applications on there. Again, it depends on if you’re using Prezi or you’re using some other presentation software, like KeyNotes. I like using PowerPoint. That’s just what I’m used to, and I like embedding videos in PowerPoint that have audio on them. PowerPoint now is supported on iPhones, iPads, and other tablets and other devices.

If you pick up an adapter, which is this, it’s called an AV adapter, audio visual adapter, and it’s got a lightning connector on the end, you can plug it into your phone or your tablet. On the end of it is an HDMI connection. I have a very long HDMI connection that I carry. It’s not that thick, a great portable one to have. And on the end I also have what’s called an HDMI coupler, and the reason for that is because sometimes there’s an HDMI cable, and you just need to reach a little bit longer in order to connect into the projection system with your device, whether it’s your phone or your tablet.

If you want to be charging your phone or your tablet because it’s a long presentation, this AV adapter also has a pass-through power charger. It’s a lightening connector that you can connect into it. So maybe you have a typical powerbank that you go and you connect into this as well, and now what ends up happening is that it’s charging the phone or the tablet, and you’re also still passing out HDMI.

Now, the thing with HDMI, and here’s the problem. When you’re using embedded videos in your presentation is that the audio signal is being sent over the HDMI cable. Now, HDMI going to a projector is not going to typically work when you’re in a large venue because that’s not the house audio system. The projector typically doesn’t have speakers on it, or if it does, they’re very weak. So you need to have an extractor for that. I use, and there are many of them that you can pick up on Amazon. I picked up this one. It’s called an HDMI converter, which goes to HDMI to HDMI plus audio, meaning that it’s passing through the HDMI signal. It goes on this side. I connect my other cable into the other side here, and then out of this comes the video going to the projector but also audio, that’s the key. So in this case, it has the RCA left and right, traditional, but you can also convert that because there’s cables that go to a typical 3.5 millimeter audio connection. That’s very common when you’re going into house audio systems because this is kind of what they expect when you’re plugging into your laptop. And again, I like to carry a coupler. So, and the reason for that is because maybe the end that they’re giving me is another male audio end that I need to plug into this, or again, you need to extend it. So always handy to have couplers on hand, the HDMI couplers and an audio coupler. Again, very inexpensive to buy on Amazon.

Now the next problem I ran into is I was starting to do presentations, and the projector is either old school and only VGA, which is a slightly different connection than HDMI. You can buy from StarTech an adapter that basically takes HDMI in and sends VGA out. And that reason is that you could go and connect to a different projector. I’ve even had projectors where they had HDMI and VGA on them, and for some reason the HDMI just wouldn’t work. It wasn’t picking up the signal properly. There was an issue, a compatibility issue maybe between the adapter that I’d have, this one here, going from my phone or tablet out to the projector. I don’t know, but in any case, it was handy to be able to go to VGA, which is a different video signal. So I’d now carry this little adapter with me as well. It’s very handy, and so you can now convert to either HDMI or VGA for your video signal.

You can go to an audio signal on the house board of either RCA or 3.5 millimeter audio, which is very common, it’s the most common, and connect to that. And so therefore, now you can have presentations in iPads, on a tablet, or on a phone, like an iPhone, that have embedded videos in them with an audio signal. Last but not least, you can get a remote for those. It took me awhile, but I actually found one. It’s a Bluetooth multimedia remote called Sateshi, and all of these links are gonna be in the video description down below for these parts. This remote actually works with PowerPoint on the iPad or your phone, so your tablet or your smartphone, which is super convenient. You’re up there, you’re on stage, you’re doing a presentation, and your phone is just off to the side, connected to the projection system, wherever that might be, on the podium or whatever. You can walk around with your clicker so that you can forward the slides on your slide deck or back, blank out the screen. It even has a laser pointer on it, very handy as well.

These are kind of the pieces that I like to carry around in my toolkit. It looks like a lot, but it’s not. It’s actually very light. I also carry a speaker with me. This is a portable speaker, it’s Bluetooth, but it also supports an audio jack on it. And the reason for that is I’ve been in a number of rooms where the house audio just wasn’t working. We had a problem. They did not have the right cable, and this bails me out because this, at least you can hear the audio signal from your embedded presentations that you might have, your videos and whatnot. You don’t actually miss out on the whole experience. It’s always good to be equipped for yourself to have what you need.

All of these pieces together fit together in basically a Ziplock bag. It doesn’t take that much room. It’s much more portable now to be able to walk in and do a presentation. You know it’s gonna work. You know it’s instantly on. Last but not least, just to make sure that I always have access to all of my presentations, Microsoft PowerPoint on the iPad or smartphone on an iPhone, it can connect to different sources, like Microsoft OneDrive. In my case, I use Dropbox. I have a folder that I keep all of my presentations in there called Presentations, and it’s synchronized automatically so that no matter where I am, I can get access to the latest version of any of my presentations, start it, maybe there’s another one, you have a different time, you wanna go to a different version, whatever it might be, but you’ve got it at your fingertips. Everything is available here, ready to go.

You’re not going to get interrupted by any ridiculous updates that take and seize control of your laptop and force you to wait through it while you’re embarrassed and trying to make up time and talking to the crowd. These are some components that you should consider having in your toolkit, and then you’re not lugging around and bringing a heavy laptop with you as well. I just think it’s very easy to travel light, be able to go there, and maybe you’ve got a little bit of extra room for some prizes or business cards or handouts or whatever it is that you bring with yourself. Look down below in the video in the description so that you can find links to all the parts that I talked about, and hopefully there’s something here that you haven’t thought about. Perhaps it’s opened up the possibility for going out and doing presentations with your tablet or your phone now instead of carrying a laptop.”