Keep Your Audience Engaged with Apple’s Keynote for Presentations

Whether you make presentations in the courtroom, to educate other attorneys, or to cultivate new business, you need the right tool to prepare and deliver your presentations.

Previously, I’ve written about SlideShark, a mobile presentation app which I’ve used for presenting PowerPoints with mobile devices. It worked so well, I even upgraded to the premium version to increase my storage space. While the premium version does provide limited editing functionality, SlideShark is not for building presentations.

As a Mac user, I’d been eyeing Apple’s Keynote application as an alternative to Power Point for quite some time. Then came along MacSparky‘s (attorney David Sparks) most recent field guide: Presentations, a primer for Keynote users. I was sold. I bought Keynote for Mac ($19.99) and Keynote for iOS ($9.99). Fortunately, all iWork applications, including Keynote are free when you purchase a new Mac or iOS device.

As Sparks explains in his guide, a good presentation entails proper planning and execution. It must tell a story. Keynote helps you take that plan and turn it into a powerful story. While certainly PowerPoint offers many of the same features, Keynote seems to do it in a more streamlined and user-friendly way. Here are a few of the features that attracted me to Keynote:

  • It’s not Power Point. We’ve all heard the old adage “Death by PowerPoint.” And it’s true. We see the same template PowerPoint presentations time and time again with too much slide text, boring clip art, etc. Keynote offers a fresh new look to your presentations with sleek themes, eye-catching colors, and crisp fonts. There are also a number of add-on themes available from third-party developers. So far, I’ve managed with only the native Keynote themes (and I give at least one presentation a week). I doubt I’ll need additional themes anytime soon.

  • It’s user-friendly. As with much of Apple technology, Keynote is user-centric. No advanced training is necessary (however, I’d still highly recommend Sparks’ Presentations to build and deliver better presentations). The image below reveals Keynote’s basic interface and highlights many of the tools available. With Keynote, it is easy to master traditionally sophisticated tasks such as animation, image masking, and slide transitions.

  • It syncs with the Cloud. There’s no need to use a third-party cloud storage service or worry about uploading and syncing presentations. Keynote works with iCloud to sync seamlessly on all your devices. Your Keynote presentations will automatically appear as thumbnails in your Keynote app on your mobile devices, taking only seconds to download and view even large presentations. Of course, you’ll need to be aware of your iCloud storage limits (Apple gives you 5 GB for free).
  • It works with the iPad and iPhone. These days, I rely almost exclusively on my iPad and iPhone to give presentations. By using my devices, I’m confident that my presentation will run precisely how I prepared and practiced it. Typically, I’ll use a combination of my iPad for projecting the presentation and for viewing my notes (you can toggle to different presentation views) and my iPhone as a remote to advance slides. And, if need be, I can edit (and even build) presentations using Keynote for iOS.

Those are some of the top reasons I’m currently using Keynote for my presentations. Sparks, in his eBook, shares many additional reasons plus guidance in using all of Keynote’s features. Demonstrative of Sparks’ experience with Keynote, he’s even had jurors request a copy of his Keynote following a closing argument at trial—it was that good (or, at least that unique)! Start building better presentations today and give Keynote a try.

About Heidi Alexander

Heidi Alexander
Heidi S. Alexander, Esq. is the Deputy Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, where she helps manage organization operations and leads the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP). LOMAP provides free and confidential practice management assistance, guidance in implementing new law office technologies, and methods to attain healthy and sustainable practices. She is the author of Evernote as a Law Practice Tool and serves on the ABA's TECHSHOW Planning Board. In 2017, Heidi was appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism. She can be reached via email at, Twitter @heidialexander, or LinkedIn

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