When You Are the Speaker

When I first started speaking to groups, I always assumed the organizer would have everything I needed. Keep in mind, this was long before we had laptop computers. In fact, I know I presented a few times using an overhead projector. Later, I would bring my presentation on a thumb drive. Sometimes, though, my file was a much newer version of the software program and the organizer’s computer couldn’t handle my presentation.

One time I was dinged because I had to stand near the laptop so I could advance my slides. Yep, the organizers didn’t have a wireless remote. And then there was the time, the organizers didn’t provide a glass of water.

By now, you probably have figured out where I’m going with this. I’m fully prepared as a speaker to be self-sufficient with the exception of the projector. Here’s what I take with me when I am presenting:

  1. Personal laptop with my presentation stored on the desktop and in the cloud (just in case!).
  2. Cables to connect my laptop to a projector. It seems that more and more every computer has a cable that is a slightly different size than what you need to plug into. I now have a few combinations to ensure that I can connect.
  3. Thumb drive. On the off-chance that I can’t connect to the projector and the organizer has provided a laptop or has a smart classroom, I can simple insert my thumb drive with my presentation, and I’m ready to go.
  4. The cloud. Technically, I don’t take this with me, but I always store a copy of my presentation in the cloud. If all else fails, I can access it via the web.
  5. Wireless clicker that allows me to advance my slides from most anywhere within the room. I don’t like to stand behind a podium because I prefer to engage with my audience. That means I need to move around the room.
  6. Bottled water so I can clear a tickle in my throat before it becomes a full-on coughing fit.
  7. Hard copy of my presentation. Sometimes technology doesn’t work no matter what you do. I’m always prepared to give a presentation without any technology.
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3 thoughts on “When You Are the Speaker

  1. Lynn Hazan says:

    Cynthia: These are great tips. I can also recall from personal experience the kind of “hazard duty” I went through to conduct presentations. My favorite was after confirming that the site had a projector was…. discovering that there was an overhead projector instead. Remember those with the transparencies? Luckily I had a hard copy and was able to conduct the workshop just fine. This incident poses a great question. If you were stuck without your props and tools, could you pull off your workshop?

    • That’s a great question. Yes, I could give my presentation without my props and tools. However, since I am frequently speaking about social media and/or use real-world examples from the news, I do think the audience would miss out a bit. It’s always helpful to see the headline or post instead of having the speaker read it.

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