Public speaking may well be an artform with core principles that are thousands of years old, but just because our principles are ancient, doesn’t mean our tools need to be.

As a professional speaker for the past 20 odd years, here are 5 tools that I would add to a new phone the second I got it. I’m Android, but we’ll share iOS apps that will work too.

1. Braintoss

Every speaker needs a great idea trap. A place to catch those fleeting ideas before they’re lost. For that, I swear by Braintoss. This great wee multi-platform app does one thing but it does it so well. It appears, you tell it your idea via voice, picture, or text and BAM, it gets sent, geolocated (which helps!) straight to your inbox. Oh and the best part is that you just pay a small fee once – no subscription. 

Here’s a vid explaining it:

2. Mymind

The second thing you need is a place to file these idea, for this I am a huge (huge) fan of Mymind. You know those storage places where you take your snowboard in summer because your house can only take so much stuff (and the Amazon addiction is real)? Mymind is that – for your brain! Not only is it a great place to store the ideas and notes you send via braintoss, but it’s a great way to save things you find on the web too. Highly recommended.

3. Readwise

As speakers we are only as good as the ideas we have. A lot of those ideas are curated from other things we read, books etc. The problem is that our brain is more sieve than sponge – we are forgetting-machines. So I sit on my kindle, highlighting quotes and passages, and then they are lost to a blackhole.

Readwise fixes that.

This may be my all time favourite app. Every morning it surfaces five highlights from books I’ve read over the last few years. I can’t tell you how often one of those highlights is relevant to a talk that I’m working on. It makes you smarter so that you can make them smarter.

4. Cloudcards

When it comes to writing talks, i’m old school, I still love post-it notes. Of late I have been using rocketnote’s cloudcards (they have post-its on Kickstarter too at the time I’m writing this.). However, after I’m done, I want to stop and organise them, and I find the post-it note app to be better than their default one. It uses your camera, and OCR to scan them, and it works like magic. It’s also great if you don’t have post-it’s with you as you just work in the app itself.

Here’s a vid all about it:

5. Presentation timer

Last, but certainly not least is my presentation timer. My number one rule to speakers I am coaching is “Don’t run the clock”. Some gigs have a clock, some have people waving at you, but I prefer having my own. Especially as I can colour code places that let me know where I am at a glance. This will save your bacon. Promise.

I promise you gif

So there you have it, five great apps absolutely worth your time and attention. You know what else is? Our Story-to-Stage speaker accelerator programme. We work with speakers the world over giving them the cheat codes to land, write, and deliver world class revenue generating talks.

Have a great gig…!

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