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Step #1
Agree to talk about a subject on which you are an expert or at least knowledgeable.

Step #2
Too many presenters either over-prepare with too much material, or under-prepare. Both situations can lead to time problems. Know how much time you are allotted and rehearse your presentation to fill that time slot. Open the floor to discussion, questions, or ask for personal experiences to fill any void if necessary.

Step #3
Do not assume that everyone in the world thinks more or less the way you do and whatever you say is bound to be relevant. Know your audience. Take the time to ask the coordinator or meeting planner what is expected from your session.

Step #4
Leaving the visuals until the last minute, trying to organize the talk, and creating PowerPoint slides at the same time, just doesn’t work well. Furthermore, by using an old stock template repeatedly, you risk communicating that you do not care enough about the presentation to create professional-looking slides. Often the creator packs way too much information on each slide or frame, uses too many transitions and sounds in the mistaken belief they will add that extra zing to the presentation. This is often used to cover up lack of content. Too many animations can cause a speaker to run overtime. Transitions, animations, and sounds work best when used sparingly, are meaningful, consistent, and do not detract from the information itself.

Decide what to say, create an outline, and then start building the slides or frames days or weeks, not hours before the presentation. Create a template that will complement the subject or find a resource for templates on the Web, in a commercial collection, or contact the NAFRI AV Department.

Step #5
PowerPoint is extremely fussy about the file protocols it supports. Make sure you understand formats for imports, such as scanned objects, movies, resolution, and file sizes. Presentations must fit the computer they will run on. You must have enough memory to drive movies or complicated graphics. If you intend to send the file to someone else, make sure they can load and run it on their computer, especially video clips. Ask some questions before designing a presentation for someone else, or take to another computer. Be aware of copyright violations - when in doubt, do not use. This is very important when distributing material outside of your control.

Step #6
Time and technology are serious issues. Skilled presenters arrive at least 45 minutes to an hour before they are scheduled at an unfamiliar site, even ones you have visited before can change or update their technology. Arriving early is beneficial for you and a professional courtesy to your hosts and AV staff. Be familiar with the room, lights, who controls them or how the controls work, seating arrangements, microphone setups, where equipment is located and the various remote controls. All of these elements can make or break the presentation effectiveness.

When a presenter arrives 10 minutes before he/she is scheduled to start, the message sent to the participants and coordinator is “this is not important enough to spend the extra time to ensure success”. The AV coordinator cannot have every piece of equipment in place and working properly if you do not do your part. Call ahead of your arrival, ask questions, double check everything, even if you think it is unimportant. Do not assume AV can be ready if you are not.

Step #7
Ask questions about the model of projector you will use, and ease of use. Will someone who understands the projector be available? Powering-up and shutdown sometimes has a time delay so understand what you are doing. Do not use the audience’s time for your training. Contact the AV staff before you arrive on-site.

For computer generated images to project optimally, the resolution of the projector should match the resolution of the computer attached to it. Otherwise, the projector won’t know how to map the pixel grid and the resulting image will distort. The usual practice is to upgrade computers more frequently than projectors. You can also ask the AV coordinator what the resolution capabilities are and you can adjust a copy of the presentation to fit that ratio. Plan ahead. If you have the selection set for your home projector, and the one you wish to use is different, make the change. You can go back to the previous setting.

Step #8
Electronic equipment, familiar or unfamiliar, can be counted on to fail in creative ways at the most inopportune moments. The rule is simple: the more desperately you need it to work, the more likely it won’t. Even the best-managed facility can have problems. What will your alternative be? Do you have a little time filler? What can you cut out if necessary?

Back up your files. If you only have one copy, Murphy’s Law says you will corrupt or somehow lose the original file, or your laptop will quit working. Use a universal storage media, such as a CD-ROM or portable USB drive as a backup. Remember to include a copy of your fonts file, or embed your fonts in your presentation. Missing fonts can cause the system to substitute your fonts to something of a surprise to you and the audience. Think about when the file is too big to handle or move off on to another media form. Be prepared. Another option is to use the “PACKnGO” in PowerPoint. This will reduce the file size, but you can only play the file. Doing a SAVE AS will allow you to make changes again if necessary.

Step #9
Unless you are absolutely sure the audience will appreciate jokes, do not use them. Topical, relevant humor in small doses works best at the beginning of a presentation, but with it comes the risk of alienating an audience right at the start. When the audience members are alienated, it takes twice as much effort to get back into their good graces. Humor based on personal experience and real stories work best, otherwise, play it straight. Again researching expectations is a must. Don’t wait until the night before or on the airplane to design and develop. Use that time for tweaking and practicing your remarks and timing with your presentation.

Step #10
You are taking chances relying on a live web connection. Create a copy of the Web site you want to demonstrate, or relevant parts of it, on your hard drive if possible. One way is to use Adobe Acrobat. The process is: in Acrobat, choose OPEN WEB PAGE. The program lets you save the entire site or choose how many levels deep you want to go. Conversion settings give you the option of saving pages as JPEG, TIFF, or HTML. When you set the parameters, select DOWNLOAD and let Acrobat do the rest. To show the saved site in PowerPoint, you need only create a hyperlink (INSERT HYPERLINK) to the file. Check that all of the links work the way they are intended, and practice this several times. Screen shots can also be taken of Web pages and inserted into PowerPoint. With some hyperlinks added these slides can be navigated like an actual web site. Contact NAFRI AV if you need assistance.

Last Modifed: 7-21-2009