When presenting live, in a face to face environment, there are 3 excellent apps I always have active. They help me control both my presentation and computer, make sure phone is silent and let me easily jot down any issues/questions to return to later. What are the apps? Read on! These apps are all for Android and I’m in no way associated with them :-)

Presentation and computer control:
Unified Remote

Unified remote lets me control anything on my computer. I mostly use its PowerPoint-interface to advance slides with the volume buttons on my phone, instead of getting a separate clicker. If I’m far away from the computer I also use its functionality to remotely control the computer’s mouse and keyboard, for example if I want to quickly open a webpage without going to my computer.

A small piece of software needs to be installed on the computer you wish to control (in my case mostly my work computer). You then connect the phone to the computer either with wifi or bluetooth.

This app is really great and I use it to control my home computer as well, for example to control my music or movie player. There are tons of different remotes built in and you can add your own. The free version offers a standard set of remotes (like basic control of your computer) while the paid version comes with the full set of remotes (eg. PowerPoint).

If you think this app has too many remotes you can disable those that you don’t use or you can try a PowerPoint-only app, such as PowerPoint Remote Control or BL PowerPoint Remote.

UnifiedRemote2

Showing some of the different remotes available in this app. Note the two different ones for PowerPoint (Basic & Advanced).

UnifiedRemote1

One of the PowerPoint-remotes, I use the volume buttons to advance the slides. Another version with big advance buttons is also available.

Note taking:
Notes Reborn

There are more note taking apps than I care to count, so this app isn’t necessarily the best choice for you. However having one installed for quick notes while in training is a big help. I take notes for all those things I wish to leave for later, be it questions I can’t answer or discussions I wish to follow up on. Notes Reborn doesn’t have any web interface or sync, but I like that you can set it to automatically open your keyboard and a new note when launched. If online sync is import then consider for example Mobisle Notes or Evernote.

Make sure you know your note taking app well and that you use a good keyboard (I prefer SwiftKey or Swype) so that your note taking is quick and doesn’t interrupt with the training flow. Alternatively you can record your notes with the microphone and use either speech-to-text or review the recordings later.

Taking short notes quickly while presenting, using Notes Reborn and SwiftKey

Taking short notes quickly while presenting, using Notes Reborn and SwiftKey

At times capturing an image (of a whiteboard for example) is a lot handier than writing notes.

At times capturing an image (of a whiteboard for example) is a lot handier than writing notes.

Advanced phone control:
Tasker

While this app may be a little hard to grasp at first, it is one of the most versatile ones you can get. What does it do? Everything and nothing! It is all about what you configure it to do. In a nutshell: You use it to do things depending on different events.

One of my uses in training is that when I turn the phone upside down it goes completely silent, meaning I won’t be disturbed while presenting. I also have it set to vibration only when leaving my home, meaning I don’t have to worry about my phone’s signal being too loud in the office.

Other training related things you could do with it would for example be to:

  • Automatically start a timer when you start a presentation (like the Unified Remote app mentioned above) and then let you know with a vibration or signal 5 minutes before the next break is due.
  • Automatically send a text message to anyone calling you while presenting (something like “I’m presenting right now and will call you back at 1100”).
  • Ignore silent mode if a family member calls twice.

These are just some ideas, you can have it trigger on many different things such as events, locations, states, etc. The app is well worth its price and there is a big support community for help how to set it up.

Should you wish to explore other similar apps then Locale and IFTTT have similar functionalities.

This list shows the various profiles (triggers & actions) I have in use, with the green ones being active right now. The top profile "Knäpptyst" tells my phone to do the actions in "Knäpptyst" when it is face down.

This list shows the various profiles (triggers & actions) I have in use, with the green ones being active right now. The top profile “Knäpptyst” tells my phone to do the actions in “Knäpptyst” when it is face down.

Editing actions for the task “Knäpptyst”, here only instructing the phone to go into silent mode.