Nothing disrupts a presentation more than technical difficulties. Even the most gifted speaker can’t drive home some ingenious points if he or she lacks the technology to back it up and clearly communicate those ideas.
Removing the worry over lackluster visuals and potential technical glitches can help ease presentation jitters. By implementing some of these recommendations, you’ll be armed with the tools you need the next time you walk up to the podium or give an online presentation.
Convert Paper Documents into Digital Files
If you have hard copies of documents you want to include in your presentation, you’ll need to convert them to a digital format. Documents can be captured and digitized by using electronic forms, document imaging and by scanning paper documents. Using an Enterprise Content Management system, you can create searchable digital files, upload them to your presentation, and then securely store them in a central repository for easy access when needed.
Use the Cloud
Storing your files in the cloud allows you to access them anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection. Not only will this serve as a backup for your presentation, you’ll also have it available at a moment’s notice in the event you’re called upon to share your insights at a later date.
Expand Your Reach with Apps
Applications like GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar allow users to share presentations with anyone online, whether across town or across the globe. There are several apps available with various features, so research which one best suits your needs and become familiar with its functionality prior to that big presentation.
Choose Your Software
It used to be that PowerPoint was the go-to tool for organizing visuals in a presentation, and it still is a standard for many. Other platforms have recently risen to the challenge and offer added features that can go beyond the typical “slide show” format.
Among them is Prezi, which can add movement to a presentation and is good for frequent jumps between points. But don’t get overzealous—just because you can zoom in and out on that graphic, doesn’t mean you should. Overuse of the animation features can become annoying; simple is often better.
For Apple geeks, Keynote has become a favorite for its ease-of-use and intuitive features. As is true with many Mac programs, the final result is a sleeker and more polished design.
In addition, Google Slides can be a good alternative for simpler presentations and offers the added benefit of automatically storing presentations in your Google drive.
Each venue is different. Whether you’re presenting in the boardroom or a ballroom, you need to know what type of equipment is available and if it will meet your needs. Your business technology provider can help with everything from conference room management to equipment networking, so be sure to ask for their recommendations and assistance.
In the case of larger venues, ask if there is a dedicated staff person to handle technical issues like turning on and running a sound system, plugging in equipment, making sure the microphone has fresh batteries, etc. It’s important to list out all your technical needs to ensure they will be available for your presentation. Popular requests include:
- Projector and screen
- Lapel microphone (if you like to walk around, or use your hands while speaking)
- Laptop with USB drive (if you only bring a flash drive)
- Strong internet connection (if you plan on demonstrating an online feature, accessing your cloud files or conducting a webinar)
Never assume equipment will be provided, and consider the age of the equipment, too. Do you expect your 5-year-old laptop to work with a brand new projector? Chances are, they won’t be compatible. Or, are you using a Mac in a PC world? Make sure you have all the proper connections, cords and adapters. Even when everything’s been confirmed ahead of time, show up at least a half hour prior to your presentation to make sure the equipment runs smoothly.
Speaking to an audience, whether online or on stage, is daunting enough for most. Explore all your options and be prepared so the only thing you need to worry about is your delivery, not technical difficulties.