In the olden tech days (a few years ago) everyone who wanted to seriously take notes during a presentation at a conference used a laptop but even though they’ve gotten much smaller and lighter over the years, it’s still a lot to carry around. Now with the popularity of tablets, they are surpassing laptops at most conferences I attend.With that in mind, I wanted to share with you 5 ways to get the most out of your iPad at a conference.
In light of full disclosure some of the links in this article are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from these items if you buy them through these links.
1. Get a keyboard
While the virtual keyboard on the iPad is great, I still find it a little awkward to use when I’m trying to take down notes quickly. I really like the Apple wireless bluetooth keyboard as it’s the most like the keyboard I’m use to on my MacBook Pro.
Apple Wireless Keyboard (Retail Packaging) MC184LL/A
If you don’t want an Apple keyboard or just want to save some money here are two other alternatives that will work.
Anker® Ultra-Slim Mini Bluetooth 3.0 Wireless Keyboard for iPad
SHARKK® Ultra-Slim (4mm) Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Keyboard for iOS iPad
2. Get a note taking app
While you could use the Notes app that Apple includes with each iOS device, I recommend you consider finding another app with a few more features and that may work better for you. I personally recommend Evernote. I’ve mentioned Evernote before and I find it incredibly useful for all kinds of things but a couple stand out in regard to using Evernote at a conference.
- Evernote automatically adds a title to a new note including the location and even the conference title if you allow Evernote access to your calendar and have the conference entered in your calendar.
- Evernote can take a photo of a slide or whiteboard and turn it into a searchable note. While you’ll look a little ridiculous taking a photo with your iPad (and might end up on this site or here on Facebook) it can be done in a pinch. I personally keep my iPhone handy for this task.
- You can set up a notebook for the conference and put all your conference related notes in there. Not only the notes you take at the conference but set it up before hand and add your hotel confirmation, conference schedule, directions to the conference center, etc.
If you’re not familiar with Evernote, here a quick introduction.
3. Get a stand
Even if you have a SmartCover for your iPad, I highly recommend you get some sort of stand to prop up your iPad while taking notes. I personally use Akron portable fold-up stand.
Arkon Portable Fold-Up Stand for Apple iPad
You can adjust it to view from any angle, it has rubberized pads on the bottom to prevent slipping and it folds up small making it easy to pack.
4. Get a business card app
By a business card app I mean some way to store and exchange business cards electronically. While good old business cards aren’t going away anytime soon, I find it helpful to have a means to scan and keep the business cards I receive as well as give the other person my contact information. I have two apps that I recommend.
Evernote has another app called Evernote Hello. While you can use the regular Evernote app for storing business cars, I prefer Evernote Hello, their app specifically developed for storing and sharing business cards. Here’s what I like about it.
- You can set up your own profile and decide what information you want to share which can include a photo.
- You can take a photo of the business card and the information is automatically added to the Evernote notebook you set.
- You can add the location where you met them which might be the conference center or perhaps out at dinner one night.
- It has the option to look the person up on Facebook and/or LinkedIn.
- Evernote Hello can also show you any related notes you have in Evernote.
- The contact information can automatically be added to your iOS Contacts app.
Another app I can recommend and that I use to use before discovering Hello is CardMunch. CardMunch is now owned by LinkedIn and also allows you to take a photo of a business card and make that information searchable. The downside to CardMunch is that the photos are looked at by hand by a live human being and so it take some time for the information to be available. It does offer the capability of directly linking to the persons LinkedIn profile if they have one.
5. Set up Find iPhone!
Conferences are a prime spot to lose or have your iPad or iPhone stolen. If that happens you’ll be glad you set up Find iPhone. While it’s called Find iPhone, it works on your iPad (or laptop) as well. On all my devices and all of my families devices this is the first things I set up. It’s came in handy many times; sometimes just to find a device someone has left laying someplace in the house. You could call the phone but in many cases, the phone was on vibrate. If that’s the case, you have an option within Find iPhone has the option to play a sound even if the phone is on vibrate. It’s also saved my daughter several time when she’s left it at a store.
All you need to track your device is Internet access either on another device of yours or on a friends device or computer.
These are my 5 ways to get the most out of your iPad at a conference. If you have other apps or tips for using an iPad at a conference, please feel free to leave a comment below.