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Effective Presentations Using The Latest Technology - Preparation

Author: Mary Waldera

Date Created: October 3rd 2006
Last Updated: June 14th 2012

Mary WalderaMary Waldera heads MCW & Associates, a provider of presentation related services to organizations and individuals for customer events and projects. Services include presentation content editing and design, on-site speaker support at live events, and PowerPoint training sessions.

Prior to starting her own business, Mary worked for over 20 years as a Visual Communications Designer for Johnson Controls, Inc., a Fortune 100 company headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Mary is a regular speaker at Concordia College, a member of the Presentations Council of InfoComm International, Network Soho, a B2B only networking group that focuses on business education, resources networking and referrals, and Octodea, a Milwaukee-based partnership of independent professionals and small companies.


Even the professional speaker or salesman can use some tips on preparing for and giving a presentation. I’ve coached and edited presentations for celebrities, top executives, sales teams, government leaders, and advisory committees to the FDA in Washington DC, and know how important preparation is to pulling off a successful meeting.

If you find yourself involved in an all day long meeting or a conference that lasts several days with multiple speakers in a large venue setting, or even if you have a few speakers at client meeting, there are several things you can do to prepare for and equipment you can use to pull off a professional, informative, and well-executed presentation.

Set up a slide review meeting the day before the show (or several in the weeks leading up to show). This review meeting enables you and the other speaker to practice and review each other’s presentations so that you are presenting on a united front. If a question is asked by the audience during the presentation, you will be able to easily defer the question to the appropriate speaker. A slide review meeting will also ensure adherence to your agenda.

Use one laptop with all presentations loaded on to it in one folder. The most professional presentation is a single presentation that combines all separate presentation in one you can put “breaker” slides in between with the company’s logo or meeting theme and a speaker title slide. Note that in Power Point 2000 or later versions you are able to keep the original backgrounds and layouts of each separate presentation, even if they are combined. “Break” slides, “Lunch” slides “Q&A” slides, etc. can also be added.

A main show computer as a well as a backup computer should be used in case of technical difficulty. If the main computer goes down, a switcher can be used to seamlessly go the backup computer. The backup computer can also be used to show a video or a DVD that cannot be embedded.

Use a remote control to give your presentation, even in a small meeting situation. Small, wireless mice can double as a remote and some even have laser pointers built in. Practice is very important when using a remote control or wireless mouse, so get set up early and make sure it advances your slides.

Be careful with the laser pointer. They are useful to draw attention to an important point on the screen, but continuous use will diminish the importance, and swirling it around can be very distracting. Instead animations of arrows or circles or text color changes to bring out the important parts of your presentation.

Get a professional to help if you are not proficient with either the presentation software or technology. An investment in a Presentation Manager and one or more audio visual support people is worth the cost when a large sale is on the line or anytime you or your company’s reputation is at stake.

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