Walk in 5 minutes prior to your presentation and expect technology to work? Think again.

Are you guilty of showing up to present just minutes before your presentation starts? Great! This article is about to make you a more technically prepared presenter (the time you show up is on you).
Not guilty? Good for you. There’s tips and helpful checklist below to add to your knowledge base.

Ready for step one? Learn to operate the device you are presenting with. It sounds like the obvious, but if there were a dollar for each time a presenter walked in with a new, borrowed, or “never used it for a presentation” device, world peace could be purchased.

Whatever device you use, assure that it’s practical and fit for the duty. (For this article, we’ll use a laptop computer as our example)

Connect your laptop to a display. Connect your laptop to multiple displays. Repeat these steps. You’ve put the effort into designing your presentation; now make sure you can share it with your audience.
Understand how your laptop interfaces to an external display. What are the ports (connectors) on your laptop for outputting a signal? Do you have multiple connection choices? Do you need adapters? Is there a keyboard sequence to export your video signal? If you present frequently, it is likely that you will encounter multiple scenarios for connecting your laptop. Are you ready?
• Have multiple adapters for connecting your laptop to a display.
• Never assume your laptop will interface with the display you’ll be using at your next presentation.
• Until you have connected your laptop and tested it with the actual display device being used for your presentation, assume it doesn’t work (this helps to think about a backup plan).

Here’s an example:
In the picture, our presenter has a newer model laptop and the venue owns an older projector (fig 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

The laptop is equipped with an HDMI port (fig 2) and the projector is equipped with a VGA port (fig 3).

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

The laptop will not connect to this projector without some help. Thanks to this article and the checklist below, our presenter had the foresight to call the venue and get the specifics of the projector being used. The presenter was prepared with an HDMI to VGA adapter (fig 4).

Figure 4

Figure 4

 

The next steps are easy:
1. Connect the HDMI end of the adapter to the computer
2. Connect the VGA end of the adapter to one end of the VGA cable
3. Connect the other end of the VGA cable to the projector.
4. Power on projector
5. Power on laptop

Laptop and projector are connected and ready for you to present! (fig 5).

Figure 5

Figure 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another reason for connecting your laptop to a variety of displays is to see how your presentation looks (There are numerous topics here, but for sanity’s sake, this article will keep it simple). “What?” You ask. “My presentation won’t look like it does on my screen?” The best answer is “possibly”. Depending on the technology, the format, and the age of the display, your presentation may or may not look like you’d expect it to. The message here is to keep your presentation clean and simple. Keep your colors and typeface basic and bold. As you connect to different types of displays, take note of how your presentation looks and reads.

Show up early, connect your laptop, and walk the room to get an audience perspective of your slides.
Although your unprepared, panicked actions can be entertaining, your audience would prefer having the extra time to engage in your message. Be prepared! (And don’t be late!)

On your own:
Choose your presentation device
Learn how to power it on
Learn how to get it out of sleep mode if it goes to sleep (or standby)
Turn off sleep mode, standby mode, and any power saving mode (in your device settings)
Turn off screensavers (in your device settings)
Memorize the log on password
Memorize the screensaver password
Learn how to export the video signal
Learn how to change the video settings (resolution)
Know the ports (connections) on your presentation device
What connections are you equipped for and what connections would you need an adapter for?
Do they make an adapter for my device that I don’t own? If so, what would it allow me to connect?
Leading up to the presentation:
Call the venue and ask for details about the display you’re connecting to:
What connectors are available on the display?
What is the maximum resolution of the display?
What is the format of the display (16:9 or 4:3)?
On Site:
Have your power supply (never trust batteries)
Have your adapters
Have a wireless clicker

This is a basic list that will cover a broad audience. If you have a unique situation, a question, or experience you’d like to share, email us. We’d love to hear from you.