Smart Pens And Their Use For Brainstorming

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For my second ebook, Brainstorming Your Presentation, I was looking into the various smart pens (or digital pens) that are available on the market to see if they could help me with the problem of taking my presentation drafts with me.

I tried out quite a few of these pens - with varying degrees of success - but in the end decided to cut most of the details out of the book again, as they were distracting from the book's focus. Since the information could be of interest to potential buyers of these pens, I'd like to publish it here instead.

Sketchnoting with the Wacom Bamboo Spark

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I realise I'm late to this party, but I've recently begun to sketchnote. I've had Mike Rohde's Sketchnote Handbook for quite a while but hadn't gotten around to read more than the first couple of pages.

What motivated me to try it out now is my new toy: I got myself a Wacom Bamboo Spark. This is due to me being interested in bridging the gap between analogue and digital note taking and brainstorming. As mentioned in an earlier article, I am a huge proponent of doing things "offline" and "analogue", i.e. on paper, first. But at some point, you will run into the problem of having to take your notes with you or you will want to transfer them into some digital format for further use and processing.

Apple Keynote Update Cycle complete?

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Apple has a habit of sometimes rewriting one of its apps from the ground up, for reasons that aren't immediately obvious. This usually comes with a drastic reduction of features in the rewritten app, much to the chagrin of its users, before they gradually start adding features back in. The Keynote apps (for Mac and iOS) recently went through this cycle as well.

Alternatives to Post-its

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For me, Post-it notes are an important part of the preparation phase of a presentation. They're great for brainstorming and can serve as early versions of slides. Right now, I am working on a presentation that I'm about to give soon and all I have at this point is a collection of Post-it notes stuck to my whiteboard. But that's all I need to practise this talk!

Once I'm happy with the content and comfortable with the flow, I'm going to sit down at my computer and create the slides. There will probably be fewer slides than the number of Post-its I have right now; some Post-its are early versions of slides, others are simply notes.

But do you always have to use Post-its? Are there any alternative products you could use? I've mentioned software solutions before - mind mapping tools and the free Post-it app. But this is about "analogue" alternatives: Tangible things you can write on with a pen. What alternatives are there?

How do you take your Presentation Drafts with you?

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For the brainstorming phase, when beginning to prepare a presentation, I do recommend to "go analogue" and get away from the computer. Thinking about your topic and how best to explain it feels a lot less like work when you're not sitting in front of a keyboard. You do need a way to jot down your thoughts, though.

A notebook is a good companion during the very early phase. Just write down what comes to mind. Don't worry about the order of things so much yet.