Join Petrula Vrontikis for an in-depth discussion in this video Tips for using technology, part of Running a Design Business: Presentation Skills.
Pay close attention to these details when presenting from a laptop, tablet, or mobile device. Clean your screen. People are looking at your screen from different angles, which can accentuate dust, fingerprints, and who knows what else. Organize your desktop. It often frightens me when I see the names of files that are floating on people's desktops. Just gather all the files and put them in a nice, neat folder that says temporary desktop for duration of the presentation. Consider the message your desktop picture and screen saver communicate.
I suggest something neutral and benign, nothing personal like vacations, family or pets. Turn off all popups and sound alerts. It's very distracting to see who's sending you messages during a presentation. Some can be especially embarrassing. Plug in your laptop and change the sleep mode setting to never. I've seen rooms of people be distracted by a laptop going into energy conservation or running out of power. This usually occurs at a critical point like the conclusion.
Don't expect wi-fi access. It's an amateur's mistake to have your presentation contingent on someone else's high speed internet connection. In formal presentations, when using a video projector, you may want to use a program setting feature called Presenter Notes. It's available in Keynote and PowerPoint. Is a discreet way to have some of your notes visible only to you, during the presentation. This setting is very simple to use when constructing and rehearsing it on your own.
But becomes exceedingly complex when your laptop is connected to a video projector. I've seen many a presenter disabled and scrambling because. Though they no longer have access to all of the notes they created. If you're unfamiliar with this process, I suggest practicing with a projector ahead of time. As well as printing notes out and bringing them as a backup. Also, in a formal presentation, you may be asked to bring your file on an external drive, in case you present from someone else's computer.
The main challenge here is font usage, especially in Keynote. If you've used any fonts other than native system fonts, they need to be installed on the computer you're presenting from. This goes for audio and video files as well. Knowing whether you're presenting from your own laptop or another computer is crucial preparation. I recommend asking this question beforehand. Put your presentation on a thumb drive and upload it to some kind of cloud storage.
Make sure all your devices are fully charged and always bring your own power cords and video connector cables. Also, carry an extra blue-tooth speaker just in case the video projector has no output capability. If the room is large, you may be asked to use a microphone. Here are some suggestions. Placement is key. If it's hand-held, make sure it's close to your chin. Even lightly touching it. Keep it there and don't move it around. Avoid asking, can you hear me? Or, is this on? A discreet repetition of test, test, test will help you and the person adjusting your sound know if it's right.
Often, you'll be given a headset or a lav mic. That's one that's clipped to your shirt and has a wire connecting it to a small unit that clips out of view. It should be positioned close to your neck, and on the side where the screen is positioned, so if you turn your head to look at the screen, the mike will continue to pick up your voice. Note that these units are usually turned on in advance, so they pick up everything you say. Test lighting ahead of time. We spend a lot of time on setting up our visuals and sound, but often forget to test the lighting.
Spotlights may be too bright and blinding. And low lighting may make it difficult for you to see your notes and keyboard. In the resource files, you'll find a handy checklist with all the issues I address in this video. The message here is to be overly prepared. Know your material, know your available equipment, and be ready for technological mayhem. Carry backups of your backups. As designers, we always want to come across as polished and prepared. We need to be able to think on our feet, and improvise if needed.
- Presenting one-on-one, to a team, or to a larger audience
- Choosing a presentation format
- Introducing your design and providing context
- Persuading your audience
- Developing visual aids
- Creating a great first impression
- Understanding verbal and nonverbal cues
- Getting approval
- Facilitating a Q&A session