Use Your Laptop or Theirs?

I’m recently having a discussion with a group where I’m going to do a one hour presentation skills class. They want me to use their tower computer which is situated in the back of the room, in a closed-in cabinet. They want me to bring in a flash drive, plug it into their computer and use that as a basis for the program.

Here’s what I don’t like about the setup and why I prefer to use my laptop.

1. I have the program on my computer and know it works. You never know if it will work on the other computer. There could be version incompatibilities and all sorts of technical snafus that are hard to predict.

2. If you use your Power Point program on a different computer it may not have the fonts you use in your program. You’ll need to embed your fonts when you save it – this is not the default.

3. The computer you use may be under-powered and not have enough power to run your program if you have video.

4. The other computer may have malware/virus on their computer. When they had you back your thumb-drive, it might be infected. My wife had this problem when she was part of a team and everyone was swapping thumb drives back and forth. All the computers got infected.

5. If you’re using video, the computer you use must have the correct codecs and programs to run. Just because a video works on your computer doesn’t mean it will work on the other computer.

6. If you use their computer you may be stuck looking at the screen to see what is the next slide. You want your laptop in front of you so you can advance the slides and not have to look behind you and see what the audience is seeing.

7. You also don’t want to be stuck behind the lectern when you speak. Some lecterns have a monitor built in, but if the lectern is stuck in one place, then you’re stuck in one place to watch the monitor. I want to be able to see my notes in front of me and not have to walk back to the lectern each time I change a slide.

8. I like using Presenter View in Power Point. This allows you to see your notes on the laptop, but the audience only sees the graphic. You may be able to get this to work on another computer, but it’s always questionable.

9. Another bad situation I’ve just found out about is a speaker who has to use someone else’s computer and the clicker he has to use to change the slides isn’t connected to the computer. The clicker goes to a person who has to notice the click and then manually advance the slides. Sounds like a potential mess-up to me.

Note – I asked this question of professional speakers and they unanimously agreed – use your own computer if possible or at least bring it along.

Pat Raymond – I’ve needed to step up and give an additional presentation 2 x in the past, when another speaker was sick/late…

Rick Deutsch – You may want to pick out other photos and files at the last minute.

Ken Braly – My motto: reduce the unknowns!
He also brings a pdf backup, a thumb drive backup and his own remote.

Dave Kelly
1) Being prepared for the unexpected.  If the laptop provided is not
compatible with the equipment, doesn’t have enough battery power because
they forgot to bring a cord, or just flat out crashes, then you are ready to
plug in your laptop.
2) Sometimes I decide to add things even just moments before the
presentation based on conversations with my host, the audience members, or
last second inspiration.  Having my laptop available allows me to make those
adjustments, get pictures, or pull slides from other presentations.

Jim Holmes – I have had opportunities where I was assured a laptop would be available – it wasn’t, they would  provide – they didn’t, and the furnished laptop did not work – would not sync with the projector.

Joel Blackwell – Most people don’t have their laptop set up not to shut down or go to a
screen saver.  You might not notice on a new computer that it’s running on battery until it quits mid presentation.

Beth T. – never gives her presentation to anyone else. In the past, she has had it changed and stolen.

Rebecca Morgan – you may have fonts on your computer which are not on the other computer. Rebecca also uses a Mac with Keynote which is a Mac only program.

Posted in Laptop-Projector, Power Point | Leave a comment

Presenter View in Power Point

If you’ve ever wondered why many speakers still rely on all those bullet points in a presentation, it’s mainly because they don’t know their material.

Now there’s a way to show great graphic visuals and still have notes to reference while using Power Point.

If you’re using Office 2010, Power Point has a feature called “Presenter View.” It’s hidden under the Slide Show tab and has to be checked. Then when you click on “slide show” your presentation will show on the screen and your slides and notes will show on your laptop.

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Laptops and Projector Settings

I was practicing a speech and noticed that the projector screen picture looked fuzzy and I couldn’t get a clear picture. What I discovered was that I needed to set the laptop resolution to the resolution of the projector. The resolution of my laptop is 1200×800 while the resolution of the projector is 1024×768. When I changed the resolution on the laptop to 1024×768, the screen instantly came in focus.

To change screen resolution, right click on an empty part of your desktop and choose Screen Resolution and choose the appropriate settings.

Here’s a question I received about the topic:

“Good tip about the projector settings syncing with the computer.
I know how to change it on my computer, but how do I determine what the
projector setting is?  Does it show up when I hit the menu button on the

My Answer:

If it’s your computer, just get out the manual and see what it tells you is the
native resolution.
If you don’t have a manual, I’d look for the model number on the projector and
look it up on the internet.

If you’re using someone else’s projector, you can either try to find out ahead
of time what it is and do your research or as a LAST RESORT –

Arrive early and do a bit of experimentation with your laptop attached to the
If it’s an older projector, the resolution is  probably either 800 x 600 or 1024
x 768.

The newer projectors have quite a few different resolutions.

Experiment and see which  resolution looks best on the screen.

I don’t know of any magic button which you can press on every projector which
shows you the native resolution.

Posted in Laptop-Projector, Power Point | Leave a comment

Check Out Your Room Ahead of Time

If you’re speaking a new group in a new setting, one way to be prepared is to visit the location ahead of time and take a few pictures.

I’m speaking to a group in the near future and was talking to one of their leaders. She told me that the last speaker went to the wrong location and as a result was late. The speakers topic was “Being Well-Organized.”

I decided to check out the room just to see what lay in store for me. I checked the lighting, table and chair layout, electricity and how I would setup my screen and projector.

One thing I noticed was that the room was not large, so I wouldn’t need any PA equipment. I also noticed that it had good WiFi access, although it was not secure. If you look at the room, I’ll have to either pull the two from tables together for my projector or have another smaller table to put in the middle. For some programs you may not want the screen right in the center, but for this educational program it makes sense.

Posted in Misc, Power Point, Presentation Skills, public speaking | 1 Comment

Writing a Speech in Five Minutes

All of us at some point in our speaking career have to give a speech, but don’t have the time to prepare. Illness, family problems, extra time needed at work – these are all valid reasons to be in a situation where you have to speak, but haven’t prepared like you normally would want. What do you do?

The answer is to first ask yourself this question. “In what area am I an expert?” Then develop a speech surrounding that level of expertise. Answer the basic questions, who what, where, when, how and why. Then just add an opening line and a conclusion, and you have your speech.

Last night I saw a speaker put together a masterful speech about why fellow club members should consider entering speech contests. He put this speech together during the meeting. He was actually spending all of his time preparing for a speech contest so this speech didn’t get his normal preparation time. He was so successful because he spoke from his level of expertise – entering speech contests. He told us that he has entered eighteen speech contests and so he was clearly an expert in this area.

Another speaker that same night gave a great speech about his house being burglarized and the story of how the police finally caught the burglar.  This was speech which needed very little preparation since it was just a retelling of the story as if he were sitting around a breakfast table. He was the expert because this was something he lived through.

One tip to remember is never tell you’re audience that you haven’t prepared for your speech. If you tell the story as an expert – they’ll never know. In fact, you have put in many hours, if not years into the preparation of your speech.

Being an expert doesn’t mean that you need a PhD. It does mean that you’ve either put quite a bit of time and energy into this one area or it’s something that you personally have experienced. I encourage everyone to become an “expert” in one area. It really doesn’t matter what it is – just something that interests you.

And the next time someone is looking for a last minute speaker say, “Just give me five minutes.”

Posted in Presentation Skills, public speaking, speech writing | Leave a comment

Aristotle’s Rules for Persuasive Speech

When you think of old, very old, extremely old speakers.
Who’s the first person which comes to mind?

Larry King?
NO – this speaker is older than Larry
Impossible you say, no one is older than Larry.
Well let me tell you a story.
Larry,  had a teacher back in 3rd grade I believe
where he went to St. Catherine of the Very Talkative.
His name was Mr. Mr. Aristotle.

A philosopher of sorts.
One of those professors types from the Greek part of town.
It turns out he was a great public speaker.
Some 2400 years ago, when Larry was just a boy,
Aristotle wrote a book on public speaking called, “Rhetoric.”

Now first let me explain that there are there are 3 basics types of speeches,
The first is the Informational speech.
If you just want to give your audience as much information and data as possible – that’s an informational speech.
Unfortunately, that’s what a lot of speakers do in essence.
They take their entire speech and put it into a power point format, and uses 8423 bullet points
to slowly read their speech to the audience, point by point by point, until everyone has gone comatose. That speech is an informational speech.

The 2nd type of speech is the humorous speech.
this speakers main purpose is to entertain the audience.
If you keep the audience laughing, you’ve done your job.

The 3rd type of speech is what Aristotle wrote about
Rhetoric – the art of expressive or persuasive speech –
we might call it the Motivational speech today.

Now you may think that we don’t hear too many motivational speeches these days , but let me suggest to you that each and every day we are inundated and pounded and beat upon with motivational messages – this is called —Advertising.
What is advertising? It’s a motivational speech, a motivational message
“Buy our product – buy what are selling.”

Do you want to looks as handsome and sexy as Carl?
Try “Lawyer” perfume and the women will be flocking to your side.
Now that particular product didn’t go over particularly well, but you know what I mean.

Nine times out of ten when we get up to speak we are giving a motivational speech.
We’ve got a message, we want to sell
we’ve got an idea, we want to sell,
we’ve got a product, we want to sell.
Who are we selling it to who?
The audience ————–We’re selling it to you.

Now Aristotle said there were three modes of persuasion in a speech:
3 way to persuade people to buy what you’re selling.
Pathos – Ethos – Logos

Pathos is the Passion, emotion, the energy and enthusiasm you put into your presentation.
All too often we see speakers, stuck behind the lectern, reading their carefully prepared notes,
saying that they are passionate, but their not showing us that their passion.
If you’re not excited about the product or idea, how can you expect the audience to be?

In advertising there’s a slogan that says…”Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
Everybody’s got steak to sell – what you want to sell is the sizzle.

I went to the website to see how they we’re sizzling Pepsi these days.
They’ve got Pepsi music, videos, and sports, you can become a fan on Facebook and Twitter,
In all they have 23 links you can click to go to various Pepsi web sites.
No where, no where does it say – “Drink Pepsi – it tastes good.”

You can have many faults as a speaker, you may be poorly dressed, have lots of ah’s and uh’s, but I guarantee that if you’re passionate about your subject, your audience will be riveted by your performance. They will remember you.

The 2nd point of Aristotle.
You need Logos or logic.
Is your speech logical? Does it makes sense?
What’s your evidence?.

Over my lifetime, I’ve heard speakers make all sorts of claims,
drink this bottle of “fill in the blank” and it will cure all your health problems.
Rub this potion into your scalp – you can grow hair – it didn’t work to well for me.

If you make a questionable statement, you need evidence to back it up.
The best evidence of course is from experts.
“Here’s what the experts say about this.”
Get statistics and facts. – “According to the Census Bureau it says – “

Husbands and wives know how to play this game.
We do it all the time.
Lets say Jack wants a new hi def 50″ TV to watch his favorite football games.
What tactic does he use?
Does he try pathos/passion – no he knows right away, that would never work.
He use logos – or logic.
“Honey, I was reading the other day how these old TVs really waste a lot of energy.
Did you know that even when they’re turned off, they use the power of a 75 watt light bulb?”
That’s really costing us quite a bit of money each month.
I’m wondering if  it’s time for us to go green, help the environment  and  prevent global warming by getting a more energy efficient TV.”
What does say?

The 3rd quality Aristotle said you need for a motivational speech is
Ethos or ethics. You need to be viewed as trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. You need the qualities of a good Boy Scout.

For most speakers this quality comes from years of contact with people and organizations and people start to know what sort of a person you are – and can you be trusted. Are you ethical?
If people believe in you, they will believe in your message.

If you’re doing a Q and A session and you don’t know the answer, don’t lie, don’t make something up, say “That’s a good question. I don’t have a the answer right now, but let me do a little research and I’ll find the answer for you.”

Now at this point I’m going to add my own factor to Aristotle’s list –

I call it – “Amigos”…the friendship factor,
Do people like you? Are you a friendly sort of person.
Are you smiling? Do you seem to be having fun and use lots of humor?
Do you have good rapport with your audience?

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to develop a friendly relationship with my audience is to arrive early wherever you’re speaking, get there 30 to 60 minutes ahead of time,
and talk to as many people as possible.
Shake hands with everyone, so you have that bond with as many people as possible.
So when you get up to speak, you’re not talking to strangers, you’re talking to friends.

In Conclusion:
My friends in 2400 years –  the motivational speech really hasn’t changed that much.

If you follow Aristotle’s formula of
Pathos – Logos – and Ethos and add in the
Amigos factor and I guarantee you will have a winning speech.

Posted in Presentation Skills, public speaking, Selling | 1 Comment

Introductions 101

The Actual Introduction

The introduction is where your audience forms their first impression about you. Although it is only a small part of your entire presentation, it is here that you can either grab your audience or totally turn them off. It should have five things:

1. An “attention getter”. Never assume the audience is ready to listen to what you have to say. It’s your job to focus their attention on you and your subject.

2. Give the audience a reason to listen. WII-FM — what’s in it for me – the audience.

3. Get your audience in the proper frame of mind, IE. serious, joking, entertaining.

4. Establishes the speakers credentials.

5. Tell the audience the central idea. One of the worst things you can do is to keep your audience guessing about what the speaker is trying to say.

The Speaker

– If you are going to speak to a new group, write your own introduction!
Make it short and to the point. This is the first time the audience gets to hear anything about you, so make sure you make a good impression.

– Ask the introducer to practice reading the introduction ahead of time.

– Send it typewritten and double spaced ahead of time to the person who will read it.
Use a large font so that it is easy to read. Many times lighting around a lectern is poor.

– Ask that it be read, as is. Many introducers like to ad-lib.
Reinforce to them the importance of reading the introduction that you wrote.

– Bring extra copies with you.  The introducer will probably forget theirs.

– Tell the introducer how to pronounce your name.
Write it out phonetically if your name is difficult.

– Always close with – “Please help me welcome __________”


The Introducer

– If the speaker doesn’t have an introduction already prepared, you need to spend some time with him/her ahead of time. If possible talk to the speaker on the phone and see what he/she wants used in the introduction.

– Get all the background information about the speaker.

– Construct your introduction just like a mini speech, with a beginning, body and closing.

– Stay away from the joke filled introduction unless the speaker is giving a humorous speech or you know the audience well.

– Try to memorize as much of the introduction as possible.

– Pause long enough to get the audiences attention, then speak with energy and warmth.

– Don’t give the speakers speech.

–  End with a nice touch like, “Please join me in welcoming…”and then lead the applause.

–  Wait for the speaker to arrive, shake hands and leave to the side.

Introduction Form

Speakers Name
Our speaker today is
(Get the pronunciation correct.)

_____________________________is talking on






WII-FM_______ Why the audience should listen.



Personal Information


The title of his/her speech is:


Please help me welcome _____________________________________

(Lead the applause, stay at the lectern and shake hands with the speaker.)

Posted in Introductions | 2 Comments

Practicing a Speech – Tip from the NY Times

I just read an interesting article from the NT Times which seems to relate to giving a speech. It  says, “The research, published online Thursday in the journal Science, found that students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.” The two other methods were continued studying or draw diagrams about what they are learning.

It occurs to me that when you “practice out loud” a section of your speech, that what you are doing is taking a test in a sense. You’re trying to remember what that section is and give it back to your audience.

So it seems logical that one of the best ways to learn a speech is to practice your speech in sections, as much as possible and as early in the speech writing process as possible. Many speakers “study” their speech, rewrite their speech in numerous variations, but don’t take much time, if any, to actually practice their speech before it’s time to actually give the speech.

Posted in Memory Tips, Presentation Skills | Leave a comment

Know Your Audience

Rule #1 for any presentation is to know as much about your audience as possible.

Here’s a checklist I use to do just that.



These questions are designed to help me prepare a program specifically suited to the needs of
your group.  Please take a moment to answer all the questions fully and return the form to my
office via US Mail or as an email.

If any questions don’t apply to your organization please leave them blank.

I  would also appreciate receiving any printed information on your group that may help with
background information. (e.g., corporate reports, news items, in-house publications, products,
services, employees, etc.).

Please return this questionnaire to:
“Your Contact Information”




Time Frame:
Time people start to arrive:________________  Time program starts:________________

Time Speaker starts:________________ Minutes to Speak:________________

What is on the program just before I speak?


What happens on the program right after I speak?


Appropriate dress for the speaker ____________________________________________

Conference title and theme?


Specific purpose of this meeting/session (e.g., awards banquet, annual meeting, etc.)?


Specific objectives for my presentation?


Sensitive issues that should be avoided?


Introducer’s name?______________________________________

Introducers email address ______________________________________

Introducer’s Phone # Work. _______________________ Home. _____________________

Is there any publicity work I can help you with while I am at your event? — Yes  –  No

Radio ___ Television ___ Other ___ Type ____________________

Would you like a pre-program or post-program newsletter article ? — Yes – No

Who are the other speakers on the program?

Speaker__________________________ Topic _____________________________

Speaker___________________________Topic ____________________________

When will they be speaking ?___________________________________________

What speakers have you used in the past who covered topics related to the material I will be


What did you like and/or dislike? Withhold their names if you like, but do comment on the
material they used!


Please share any “local color” you may know of relating to the location where my program will
be held.


Please share any “industry color” related to your organization or industry.


What comments or suggestions do you have that will help me make this presentation the best
your audience has ever had?


Are there any issues/topics that you think I should discuss during the program ?


Are there any issues/topics that you think I should avoid during the program ?




Total number attending? ________ Spouses attending?  Y N

Percentage male/female  ____________   Average age? _____________

Average annual income ______________

Educational background ______________________________________

Major job responsibilities of audience ____________________________

Will there be any “special guests?” Please explain.


Why is your group attending this meeting (voluntary, mandatory, etc.)?


What is their overall opinion regarding the subject of my presentation, (favorable, hostile, etc.)?




Lectern available?___________________________

Lighting?      Good………………………………….Dark

Microphone?________________ Type: _____________________________

Cord length:_________________________________________

Will I be able to walk in front of the lectern with the microphone?________________

Room size:_______________________

Room/Table arrangement:___________________________________________________________

Is there space for group activities?____________________________

Is this a dinner meeting?____________________________________

Will I be speaking before – during – after dinner?___________________________

Will drinks be served before my talk? ————— yes  –  no

Electrical outlets available?__________________________________________

Screen available?_____________________

Where can I setup a camcorder?____________________________



Please provide the names and positions of three main “movers and shakers”in your organization
that will be in the audience, who are well known and well liked.
I may joke with them or call on them if the situation arises.
I may also want to contact them for more research information on your group (with your
permission, of course).

Name ________________________ phone  ______________________

Name ________________________ phone  ______________________

Name ________________________ phone  ______________________


Does your business/association currently have a Web site?
If so, what is the URL? _____________________________________________

Problems?  _________________________________________________

Challenges?  ________________________________________________

Breakthroughs? _____________________________________________

What separates your high-performance people from others?

Are there any hearing or sight-impaired audience members? Yes -No

If yes, please provide names and contact information

What is the most important answer you need from this program?


Problems? __________________________________________________

Challenges? _________________________________________________

Breakthroughs? ______________________________________________


Problems? __________________________________________________

Challenges? _________________________________________________

Breakthroughs? ______________________________________________

Significant events? Mergers? Relocations?


If an emergency occurs on the way to the site, who would be an alternate
contact if you are unavailable?

Name  ______________________________________________________

Business phone _________________ Home Phone  __________________






Thanks you for taking the time to provide this information.
I will use it to prepare a TERRIFIC presentation for your group.

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Power Point by Dilbert

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