A presentation, #paperless

May 27, 2016

On Tuesday after the Victoria Day long weekend I had the pleasure of speaking to some amazing people who work for non profits in Edmonton, Alberta, about non profits and the cloud.

However, this blog starts before Tuesday’s talk.

I have been following our VP Strategy’s journey to go #paperless in our blog, where he recounts with humour some losses and a bunch of wins in his own personal journey. Following in his footsteps, I thought I would give paperless a try with my presentation.

Looking back I probably should have given my head a shake, but without risk there is no learning and so this story begins…

As I started building my Office 365 PowerPoint presentation, saving it to the cloud so I could access and work on it anywhere, I found myself constantly struggling to not reach for sticky notes.

That’s right, sticky notes.

I never knew how many sticky notes in all the various colours and sizes I even owned until I started to break down and colour code my presentation into paper notes for me to talk about. In fact, as Lindsay has done in his blogs, I decided to take inventory:

  • 22 notepads in different colours
  • 4 more notepads in different sizes
  • 2 special notepads… sparkly ones

In total I had 28 different blocks of sticky notes.

As I put together the presentation I did my normal routine: one colour for topic 1, a second colour for topic 2 and so on. I even had a colour for what I called the “parking lot” so as I was writing and organizing my ideas if one popped up I could write it down and not lose it (these may have been the sparkly notes).

I was losing in this paperless battle. It was harder than I thought. As much as I loved my sticky notes, it was time to give them up.

So I started making note pages using Word Online, also part of the Office 365 suite. The problem is I would open a new document for every note I had so really all I had was this mass mess of windows everywhere, not at all easy to find or navigate while creating the flow of the presentation. After deleting the mess I had just made, I realized it was time to go back to the source.

I re-read our #Paperless blog and the posts on taking notes. Although I didn’t have OneNote on my iPad as Lindsay did, I did have the Notes app that is native to my Mac devices. That would do for now (I plan to download OneNote for iPad later to try it out too).

So I made my notes and categorized them (even color coded a few of them). I finished my presentation and woke up Tuesday morning for my talk terrified.

No paper.

I would have to survive. I checked my devices for battery life, brought an extra copy of the presentation on a USB flash drive (just in case), had my notes synced up on both my laptop and my phone, and worked up the courage to use nothing but the notes on my screen and the PowerPoint to handle my presentation.

I have to admit, I was surprised by how absolutely seamless things went.

I moved between the PowerPoint presentation on the one laptop hooked up to a projector to my notes on my own Mac laptop on a podium with complete ease. I bolded the notes on my laptop, so it was quick and easy to read to grab my tidbits of information as I needed them.

I was also able to work the room back and forth between devices, using it as a stage, so to speak. This was helpful in calming any nerves I had.

Not once did I have to pause to fumble paper or turn a page. It was there right in front of me on my screen, bright and bolded, color coded for topics, for whenever I needed to look to remind me of a point I wanted to make.

I also noticed I was more engaged with the audience. I never had to look down onto paper. The screen was upright, eye level with everyone in attendance. So when I would look at the screen for my notes, I was still able to hold conversation and be present in the room. It is amazing what putting your head down does to the flow of a presentation, and eliminating that made my topics really come together.

I still have a lot to learn in the paperless journey world. This is really one small step, and I would suggest reading the paperless blog journey that Lindsay has been on for a more in depth look.

I want to thank the event organizers, Lloyd Sadd, and my co-speaker Suzanne Pescod from Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Alberta for being great supports. I also want to thank all the passionate and curious workshop participants for their interest and attention. It was a great event and I hope to be able to test my paperless skills with you again one day soon.

If you missed this event and would like to learn more about how cloud computing could help your non profit, click here to contact us.

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