Just thought I would pass along some advice when doing a presentation for a large group of people.
I had a distinct pleasure this morning of conducting a training session for a very large (150+) group of people (engineers, managers, directors, accountants, etc.). In the past, I used to be petrified whenever speaking in front of a group, much less a sizeable audience. But a long time ago, when I was getting my MBA, I took a communication course on how to speak to an audience. The teacher encouraged us to join Toastmaster to hone our speaking skills and it really helped put me at ease in front of groups. Now I can pretty much talk to a big or small group at the drop of a hat. Still a wee bit nervous (don't want to look like a total idiot), but, once I hit my rhythm, I can speak for an hour. Preparation is the key. Practice helps. Throw in some humor and you can win over most audiences. Training went well. Was not harassed too much and I was able to keep the entire mob awake for most of the 90 minutes.
Anyway, my take away from the meeting this morning was, when you use electronic equipment and do your presentation via PowerPoint, you are at the whims of your equipment. Make sure you set up your equipment early. My laptop and projection system took a bit of finagling to make it work but the slide show was slightly off-center for the presentation. I borrowed a wireless remote control to run the slide show and it took a few minutes to get that set up. Arrived 1 hour early to the training to make sure everything was set up and working. I hate getting into a roomful of people and the computer or projector don't work as planned. I am ok in front of people, but it throws me off my game if things go south during my presentation. This morning I was fairly well prepared.
- Computer set up - check
- Projection system working - check
- Remote control working - check
- Laser pointer = check
- Can access PowerPoint slides - check
- Back up copy of slides downloaded to hard drive (in case I lose the net connection) - check
- Room set up - check
- Initiation sent out three weeks ago - check
- List of speaking points/notes - check
- One last trip to the head - check
So, with all of that going on, presentation went fairly smoothly. Some questions mid-stream and engaging discussion sidetracked us for a bit, but I was able to drag everyone back to the topic. At the end of the meeting I had parked on a Q&A slide to discuss specific questions or issues people might have. I guess I had the slide up for a bit longer than I had intended, because my laptop kicked over into screen saver mode. Now, folks, when you are doing a presentation in front of a large group of people who are primarily your peers, having your pop up some inappropriate or unprofessional screen shot does not help your reputation. Point to consider - Try maintaining that professional image when a picture of kittens or World or Warcraft or your goofey kids pops up for all the world to see. Fortunately, my default screensaver was set my goofy mutt Grayson. Still, it was rather interesting to see a 20 foot projection of his mug plastered on the wall.