When we interviewed Joby Blume for our blog, one of his key messages was that a presentation is more than just the slides. In his words,

A presentation also needs a presenter. People seem to forget this basic point – slides can be put on SlideShare, or emailed – but without narration that’s not the whole presentation, it’s just the slides. The best way to design slides for SlideShare isn’t the same as the best way to create slides to actually use in a presentation.

Pretty much every presentation design book we’ve read, and every expert we’ve talked to, emphasizes this exact point. And nearly everyone who has put a deck together has fallen into the trap of trying to make their slides work outside of the room in which they’re actually presented. Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen fame calls this kind of hybrid approach–slides that repeat what the presenter says, with too much detail–a slideument. He also advises against it.

Haiku Deck, by design, encourages you to simplify by limiting the amount of text on each slide, but we get that there’s often more to your story. Just last week our friends at Edelman Seattle invited us to do a “Presentation Intervention,” and I put together this deck to explain what we’re about and outline some strategies to make presentations more captivating.


I built the deck around high-impact imagery with minimal text, and it worked beautifully in the room, but if you weren’t in the room, the takeaways wouldn’t be as clear. So I’m particularly excited about an awesome new Haiku Deck feature: the ability to add notes to the web view of your deck, so you can complete the picture.

Adding notes to my deck allowed me to explain the ideas behind each slide, so my story can live on outside the room.

Screen shot from Set Your Story Free, with New Notes View

Click to view the whole deck with notes.

How to Add Notes to Your Haiku Deck

To add notes to a new Haiku Deck (or to round out one you’ve already created), simply publish your deck and click through to view it on our website. Be sure you’re logged in to the site using the same credentials you use to log in from the app.

When you view your deck, you’ll see title and notes fields on the right. You can add text to either or both fields. Click the blue Save button, or click Preview to see how your text will appear in its final layout. Then advance to the next slide to add more notes.

Once you have your notes the way you like them, you can click Download at the bottom of your screen to create a very snappy-looking PDF you can use as a handout or downloadable ebook. Here’s a sample page:

PDF Handout View of Haiku Deck with Notes

sample handout page

Please try out the Notes feature, and let us know what you think! In the coming weeks we’ll be on the lookout for Haiku Decks with Notes for our Gallery, so if you create one, please let us know.