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Presenting Tips

Having done a number of presentations, I have accumulated a list of items to go over before each presentation to make sure I am full prepared:

  • Bring my laptop that has my PowerPoint presentation, mouse, powercord
  • Bring a microphone to record the session or if it will be webcast.  A cheap solution is Logitech Labtec Desktop Microphone 600.  A better, but more expensive solution is the Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone
  • Bring a page-up clicker such as RF Wireless Laser Pointer with Page up Down PowerPoint Presentation Function (Black).  Saves having to press a key on your laptop to advance the slides, especially when your laptop if not close to where you are standing to present
  • Bring a USB memory stick that has a backup of my PowerPoint presentation.  Just in case your laptop fails and you have to borrow another laptop
  • Install ZoomIt on my laptop.  So you can zoom in during a demo for those in the back of the room
  • Print notes pages with slide thumbnails.  In the very unlikely scenario you have no power or no functioning laptop
  • Bring an air card if you need internet access in case the location does not have working WiFi
  • Turn off the power/screen saver on your laptop so your presentation is not interrupted
  • Use white background/black text on your slides
  • Wear a watch or display a clock on your laptop (or use the clock/timer in Presenter View) to keep track if you are going to fast or slow
  • In PowerPoint, turn off auto advance of slide (see Set Time Duration For Moving To Next Slide [PowerPoint 2010])
  • In PowerPoint, make sure to review: On the Slide Show tab, in the Monitors group, ensure that the monitor on which you want the audience to see your presentation, appears in the Show On list
  • Make sure to review how to view PowerPoint notes while in Slide Show mode: View your speaker notes privately, while delivering a presentation on multiple monitors.
  • You may want to make a few setting changes on your laptop to improve recording: Go to Sound -> Recording -> Properties -> Levels -> FrontMic (100) and Microphone Boost (+20).  Also check the boxes for Noise Suppression and Acoustic Echo Cancellation
  • Bring business cards

More info:

How to Write a Conference Abstract

What Makes a Good Conference Session or Keynote?

Plagiarism Week: Pilfered Presentations

How to Deliver a Killer Technical Presentation

How to Rehearse a Presentation

How I Made the #SQLPASS Top 10 Sessions

Gaining Speaker Experience Credentials

Speaker Lessons Learned – Free Advice That’s Paid For

Why Should I Present?

How Should I Present?

How to Prep for a Presentation

The Presenter’s Bill of Rights

Become a Presenter, Change Your Life

Building My Event Bag-Part 4

James Serra's Blog

James is a big data and data warehousing technology specialist at Microsoft. He is a thought leader in the use and application of Big Data technologies, including MPP solutions involving hybrid technologies of relational data, Hadoop, and private and public cloud. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 30 years of IT experience. James is a popular blogger (JamesSerra.com) and speaker, having presented at dozens of PASS events including the PASS Business Analytics conference and the PASS Summit. He is the author of the book “Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012”. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.


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