Could the iPad be the presentation tool your business needs? That’s what I’m wondering every time I find myself in a client’s conference room with the Tribe team racing to set up the projector for our presentation.
Setting up the projector feels a little too much like a scene out of Apollo 13, where the astronauts are struggling to repair a sensor malfunction. One person is crawling under the table to reach the electrical outlet and another is connecting cables and cords as fast as humanly possible, while the rest of us stand around urging them to hurry. Then we complain about the projected image looking so washed out and we adjust a few things, none of which ever work.
Lately, I find myself spending that pre-meeting time mentally calculating how much it would cost for enough iPads to go around. I imagine how crisp and rich our presentations would look on the iPad, and how satisfying it would be to have clients follow along with a finger swipe to move to the next screen.
We could walk into a meeting ready to begin instead of making our clients wait around for us to hook up the technology. We could spend those initial minutes chatting about the weather instead of digging around for extension cords. We could focus on the business at hand instead of worrying about whether the projector will work. It sounds like a much more relaxed way to start a meeting.
Ellen Madill, the founder of Home Stages in New Jersey, is also considering an iPad. Her company consults with clients on cosmetic updates and simple changes to make their homes sell faster and for money. With the iPad, she could sit down with her clients on the couch or at their kitchen table and take them through her sales presentation, and then also upload photos of their rooms and show them how she might rearrange furniture or what paint colors she would recommend. Sure, she could do pretty much the same thing on her laptop, but the iPad would make it a lot more fun.
The best business presentation use of the iPad I’ve seen is by Harry Wood, a leading Atlanta hair stylist. Harry uses his iPad to show clients his portfolio. Touch on the “Long and Straight” button, for instance, and you can swipe your way through a dozen photos of gorgeous long and straight looks. He sometimes uses the iPad to show clients videos of his television appearances or his how-to videos on YouTube. Now he’s added an app from People magazine that allows him to instantly pull up photos of celebrity hairstyles. You say you want to look like Charlize Theron? Harry will swipe you through a series of photos with Charlize wearing her hair different ways, asking, “Which of her looks?” You want hair like Brad Pitt? He’ll pull up another series of photos and ask, “From what movie?”
Maybe the iPad is just the latest cool new thing. Maybe it’s no more useful in business than any of the tools we already use, from laptops to cell phones to projectors. Perhaps something else even cooler will replace it soon.
But I’m thinking it could help us serve our clients better, and that’s a product benefit that never becomes outdated. Although I can see us now, walking into a meeting with six iPads, worried that seven people might show up. Impressive as it is, even the iPad can’t completely eliminate that pre-meeting stress.