Dawn Bjork Buzbee
The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)
Certified Microsoft Office 2010 Specialist (MOS 2010) Master Instructor
Certified Microsoft Office 2007 Specialist (MOS 2007) Master Instructor
Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) Instructor
Certified Microsoft Office Expert
Certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE)
WOSB (Women-Owned Small Business) Certified
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It happened again last week shortly after the
presentation began--a pop-up screen appeared in front of the slide show
as the presenter was speaking. Not only was the audience distracted, but
so was the speaker who needed to step off of the stage to close the
offending window on their laptop.
What went wrong?
Let's assume that you are ready to present a
well-organized, informative PowerPoint (or other) presentation. You know
your topic and have rehearsed and choreographed your delivery. You
arrive early to the meeting room and your laptop is connected to the
What else do you need to do to remove unnecessary
distractions so that your audience can focus on your message?
Manage Your Screen
Now that most hotels and meeting rooms have
wireless access, your laptop may try to connect to the wireless network
at the worst time-in the middle of your presentation. Or, your
anti-virus program pop-ups to remind you that it is time to renew your
Add these tips to your pre-presentation checklist:
- Turn off your screen saver or increase the number of minutes
before the screen saver engages.
- Unless you need an Internet connection, turn off your connection
or remove your wireless card.
- Temporarily disable any programs with alarms or reminders such
as Outlook, ACT, and others and don't ignore subscription reminders.
- Turn off the power save mode on your laptop (in Windows, this is
found under the Control Panel) to avoid sending your computer into
hibernation during a long break.
- While running a PowerPoint slide show, hide the mouse pointer
with [Ctrl] + H (for Hide); unhide with [Ctrl] + A (think A for
arrow). Hiding the pointer keeps it from bouncing around the screen
if your laptop or mouse is bumped or accidentally engaged.
Check Your Connections
During the setup for your presentation, check your
- Is the computer AC adaptor securely attached to your laptop AND
is the power supply or power strip turned on? A common presentation
error is not realizing that you are running on battery until your
laptop shuts down.
- Screw in all cables including the VGA connection between your
computer and the projector.
Anticipate Equipment Glitches
Prepare for the worst and equipment problems will
be much easier to handle if they occur (and they will sooner or later):
- Do you have spare batteries for your remote?
- Get acquainted with the projector and any quirks it may have
such as shutting down when it overheats or turning blue after an
hour. Yes-these things happen but they are easier to manage when you
- Do you have a backup digital and hard copy of your presentation?
I once arrived for an out-of-town, day-long seminar only to find out
that the training materials had never been copied even after
confirming several times. Fortunately, I had a backup printout
available that was rushed to the hotel business center. Backup
copies of your PowerPoint presentation may also “save the day” if
that your laptop doesn't work and you need to switch to a different
Manage Your Wardrobe
Finally, don't be the source of distractions; check
your appearance before you start a presentation:
- Remove conference/seminar name badges and other distracting (and
noisy) apparel such as necklaces and bracelets that can interfere
- Especially for men--remove loose change and other items from
your pockets to help resist those nervous habits.
- Especially for women--keep accessories to a minimum, avoid busy
patterns, and save that flowing fashion scarf for another day.
Although perfect presentations may not be possible,
your next presentation can be much more successful when add these tips
to your checklist.
© Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro®
Dawn Bjork Buzbee
is The Software Pro®
and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office
Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist
(MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart
and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software
speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.
This article and
more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with
copyright and attribution.
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While running a PowerPoint slide
show, hide the mouse pointer with [Ctrl] + H; unhide with
[Ctrl] + A (think A for arrow).
|Don't remember your
PowerPoint shortcuts? In a slide show, press [F1] for a
Help screen of tips. Press [Esc] or click OK to
close. Keep in mind that, in most cases, your audience will see the
Help screen as well.