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.
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.