Paper…The Ultimate Technology

I am a bit of a techno-geek. I own the latest all-in-one PDA-Internet cell phone, an old iPod, new video iPod, PCs, laptops, Apple computers, VHS video cameras, mini-tape video cameras, DVD video cameras and broadcast quality cameras. I own TelePrompTers, regular TVs, flat screen TVs, and three LCD projectors, not to mention numerous DVD, CD and VHS players. And, of course, MS PowerPoint software programs on every computer. I like tech toys a lot!

But what is the one tool I value above all others when I am about to give a speech or a presentation? A single sheet of paper, (and I do mean literally one and only one sheet of paper). A single sheet of paper with a simple outline of my speech works wonders. Paper never betrays me. Paper never freezes, malfunctions, gets stolen, becomes incompatible, or loses its warrantee. Paper outlines never confuse my audience (because my audience never sees it). Paper doesn’t go in or out of style. Paper does not require me to obtain an engineering degree from MIT to make it operate effectively. Paper never teases me by working effectively for half of a presentation and then abandoning me at a critical moment.

Paper never asks me to strain my back carrying it onto an airplane. Paper never gets fussy just because the holes in the wall for electricity are not the same as the ones I am used to in my own country.

If I ever lose or dirty my sheet of paper I can always replace it with another for about one penny. My single sheet of paper with an outline never gets disorganized or out of order because there is only one sheet of paper. My paper never overwhelms my audience with special effects the way a flashy video or loud music or a PowerPoint slide with too many “builds” can do. When my paper outline helps me give a great presentation, I never have to share the credit with the paper (it all goes to me). If I use a video in a presentation, then people wonder who made the great video.

In short, I like technology and use it in most presentations I give, but I absolutely LOVE a single sheet of paper, and I use it in EVERY presentation I give. And so should you.

Media Coach TJ Walker began media training in 1984 and is the media columnist for Investor Relations Magazine ( He publishes the Media Training Worldwide e-zine, where this originally appeared. Sign up at