The Bells and Whistles of Presentations

Do you have a preferred slide advancer for your presentation? Have you ever considered that question? Inspired by a conversation with my business partner, I contacted two experienced A/V principals, Mike Hennessy of Resonate Video and Joe Rogers of Visionaries Events to talk shop about the bells and whistles of speaker technology – what we like and what gives us agita!

Big Picture? You will always nail your presentation when you deliver meaning through stories, a clear call-to-action, and beautiful data to support those big ideas. What is shifting is:

  1. the amount of time audiences will stay connected to you
  2. the higher demand for sensory stimulation, and…
  3. the expectation of tangible takeaways.

Which Means We’re seeing shorter presentations (30 minutes or less), better visuals (thank you!), the frequent use of short, embedded video clips or GIFs, interactive audience polling technology, and more “live browser action.” That’s a lot of technology to wreak havoc in real time!

What We Know: Technology is never perfect, so the onsite A/V team is more critical than ever. Meet the tech and get their contact info as soon as you arrive. Don’t assume that the WiFi will support your presentation, because once 1,000 people in the building are using it, that connection gets wonky. Let the team test, and back-up your videos, and decide whether a dedicated cable line makes more sense. There is such an upside to using technology, except when you are alone on stage and the wifi goes down. It’s a dark moment.

IOS or WINDOWS? 90% of the presenters we work with use Windows-based operating system and Microsoft PowerPoint. Those daring presenters who use their iPhone to operate their Apple Keynote presentation give us thrills and stomach distress in equal measure.

Confidence Please! For main stage keynotes, expect two confidence monitors on stage with you. One shows the visual the audience sees (so you NEVER need to turn around and look at the big screen) and one that holds any notes you need. For breakout sessions, expect one monitor or even a laptop on a table. You can set the screen to presenter mode, but don’t expect to see your notes. And, some rooms are too small for the laptop to be visible by the presenter, so it’s best not to count on it for help with recall.

Which Brings Us Back to Slide Advancers. We like the Logitech for cost, ease of use and handheld comfort.  Carry one with you at all times. The Gold Standard is the remote for the D’sans Cue system, because of its range and very clear forward and back buttons, but it is also  visible to the audience.

P.S. It was fun to talk shop with true technical masters. Joe and I had an actual conversation about the pros and cons of having someone else advance slides for the presenter. Mike shared a powerful screen experience where the client had7 screens going at once  – a video, a PowerPoint , a speaker title and talk track, am out take video screen….DIZZYING!

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