Giving a Presentation
In This Chapter
© Preparing for your presentation © Using PowerPoint
© Connecting to the video projector
© Using handy PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts
suppose that, for the longest time, the main reason to lug around a laptop was to give one of those infamous video presentations. You’ve been there.
You’re in a darkened room. Warm. Too little sleep from the night before. A “presenter” talking in a droning monotone. Dull, lifeless information. Soon, you’re starting to nod off. Try not to snore (or drool).
Because of the close relationship between laptops and presentations, I thought I’d throw in one more chapter just to brush up and review on the subject.
U These days, it’s often not necessary to bring a laptop to a presentation. Merely having the presentation files on a CD-R is enough.
U Some handheld devices can be used to “drive” the video projectors that give presentations.
Setting Things Up
I suppose that the most nerve-wracking part about giving a presentation is ensuring that everything works. When you get everything working correctly, the speech itself should go smoothly, right? Even when well prepared, few folks enjoy speaking before a large group, especially a group of business folk who are used to — and are often unimpressed by — computer presentations.
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In most circumstances, you’re allowed to set up your laptop and run through a test to ensure that everything works before giving your presentation to an audience. A technician might be available and even do everything to set up for you. That’s great. But it still doesn’t make the situation any less nerve-wracking.
Creating the presentation
Before you leave and hit the road with your dog and pony show, you must first create your presentation. The program of choice for doing this is Microsoft’s PowerPoint, which can be purchased as an individual program or as part of the Office suite of applications.
PowerPoint creates documents generically referred to as slide shows. Each slide can contain text, graphics, pictures, or some combination of each. You can add animations and sound effects, plus interesting fades and transitions between the slides.
All in all, PowerPoint is a fairly easy program to figure out and fun to use with enjoyable results. That may not make the subject matter more enthralling, but just keep in mind that creating your presentation isn’t the worst job in the world.
U PowerPoint must be installed on your laptop.
U Microsoft does offer a PowerPoint viewer program, which lets you play, but not edit, PowerPoint presentations. This allows you to see a presen-tation even when you don’t have PowerPoint (for example, if the laptop you’re using doesn’t have PowerPoint installed). This viewer program can be obtained from the Microsoft Web site (www.microsoft.com) in the Downloads area.
U PowerPoint is fairly easy to figure out, though you can find tutorials for it, as well as a few good books and references.
U One trick I’ve used to keep the presentation from getting too boring is to engage the audience during the show. Ask questions or have the audi-ence fill in the blanks. Not only can that make the show more lively, but it also helps keep people awake and on their toes.
U Indeed, it’s a good idea to complete the presentation before you leave. Even so, I’m one of many folks who work on presentations up until the minute that they’re given!
U Yes, it is an excellent idea to create a backup copy of your presentation on a CD-R. That way, should you lose the laptop, or suddenly discover an incompatibility, you can use the CD-R with someone else’s computer to deliver the talk.
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U You might also consider running the Microsoft Office Pack and Go Wizard on your presentation, moving it into a portable format as a sec-ondary backup. The Pack and Go format can be easily read by other computers in case something happens to your laptop.
Hooking up to the video projector
For a small presentation, showing the PowerPoint slide show on your laptop screen, sitting at the end of a table, is perfectly fine. Most of the time, how-ever, you’ll be connecting your laptop to a video projector. The video projec-tor works like a giant monitor, displaying its image on a large screen at the end of a meeting room or convention hall.
The hook-up process is easier than it seems. In the best-case scenario, a help-ful technician is there to assist you, and the connection is made and con-firmed in advance. But even when there is no technician, you can generally figure things out: Connect your laptop’s external video connector to the video projector.
You can use either the S-video or external monitor port.
You’ll probably also need to connect your laptop’s audio-out port to the pro-jector or to the location’s sound system as well.
After connecting the laptop to the video projector, check the image. In some cases, you’ll see your laptop’s display on the video projector and not the laptop’s screen. That’s great. You’re set to go.
There are other times when the video projector acts as the laptop’s second monitor. The laptop shows the regular laptop screen, but the presentation appears on the video projector. (That’s just PowerPoint being smart.) You can confirm if your laptop has this ability by opening the Control Panel’s Display Properties dialog box and clicking on the Settings tab. If you see the second blank monitor there (as in Figure 18-1), then the laptop is automati-cally configured to use the external monitor. You’re ready to go.
What I usually do is get the PowerPoint slide show all set up, displayed on the screen, and ready to go. Then I close my laptop’s lid, putting it into Stand By mode, and leave it up on the dais. When I’m ready to go, I step up, open the laptop’s lid, and when it comes to life, the presentation is right there on the video projector’s display and ready to go.
U Sometimes the video projector is provided at the scene.
U Sometimes you have to bring your own video projector. They’re not cheap, but they’re small and portable.
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U Be sure to pack an extra bulb if you’re using your own video projector. You want to be able to replace a burned out bulb quickly, and those bulbs aren’t easy to find.
U Some laptops sport a special function (Fn) key on the keyboard, used to activate the external video port. You may need to press this key to switch the display over to the video projector.
U Some laptops may have dual video built in, allowing you to use the video projector as a second monitor. To confirm this, open the Display Properties dialog box and click on the Settings tab. There should already be a second monitor configured (refer to Figure 18-1). If so, you’re set and ready to go.
Figure 18-1: This laptop is ready tomake presen-tations.
PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts Worthy of Knowing
Here are a few keys you can use in PowerPoint to help save your rear in times of panic and dread.
Keys to display the next slide:
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U Down-arrow key
U Right-arrow key
Keys to redisplay the previous slide (or to back up through an animation sequence):
U Up-arrow key
U Left-arrow key
Keys to display a blank screen in the middle of the presentation:
U B (black screen)
U . period (black screen)
U W (white screen)
U , comma (white screen)
Keys to cancel the show:
U - (hyphen)
Keys to hide the pointer and navigation box:
U = (equal sign)
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