Meeting Professionals International

Are You Backed Up?

Wish you could see the PowerPoint I worked on last night.

Wish you could see the PowerPoint I worked on last night.

PowerPoint is so easy

March 6th 2019

In early journalism school I was taught the importance of a good headline.

Hopefully this was a good headline to get you interested.

What back up, or spares do you think of when you read the headline?

What are the important backups in our life?

I can think of a few spares I don't want to be without: spare tire, spare batteries, spare light bulbs, and the other backups that came to mind when you first read this.

What backups do I need as a presenter?

It is so embarrassing to spend time on a presentation that you can’t present. The audience has expectations, and you spent a great deal of time and/or money creating your support graphics.

The laptop freezes, the projector is out of focus, the sound is garbled. Has this happened to you? I attended such a meeting this morning.

If I were to depend on any tool for an important purpose, I would always have a backup.

Here are the backups every presenter should have before presenting to an audience.

First, always have a power supply for your laptop. Running on batteries is risky and not “backed up” with a power supply.

Next, insure that your laptop is in “presentation mode”. Apple and Windows both have options you can select to avoid pop ups, notifications, and those untimely updates when in presentation mode.

Carry two backups of your PowerPoint with you at all times.

The first backup should be on a thumb drive. That will allow you, should you have a computer failure, to quickly switch to someone else's computer for your presentation. A true PowerPoint backup has the fonts and characters necessary for the design.

The second backup is so simple it just hit me this morning while I was attending an event. Back up your presentation on your phone. If all else fails, you can refer to the phone copy so you don't have to stop and fiddle with a backup laptop, restarting yours, or other interruptions and what typically is a limited opportunity.

What else should I backup?

Always carry a backup “clicker” to advance your graphics. There are issues with RF and Bluetooth clickers that mostly relate to distance, and line-of-sight. Test your clicker in advance for anywhere in the room. Find the dead spots so you can avoid them.

If you are counting on a projector provided by others, enquire about the connections necessary. You may also need backup “dongles” allowing you to connect to the wire to the projector.  Spare dongles and cables are also prudent.

If you are providing the projector, you should have a backup new lamp.

When you are presenting with sound on video, you should also have backup audio cables and adapters. Don’t depend on the venue to provide these.

Technical Rehearsal?

Finally, you want to do a technical rehearsal well in advance of the doors opening for your presentation. Run the projector and your laptop through the entire presentation before the audience arrives.

Assuming any venue is prepared for you to just walk in, and plug in, without advance preparation and sufficient backup is a disservice to you and to your audience.

Of course, you want to ensure that you, and the presentation can be seen and heard from the worst seat in the audience.

  • Is the bottom of the screen at least 5 ft 6 in from the floor?

  • Are the chairs are set behind columns or other obstructions?

  • Is the ambient light that may distract from your image controlled?

In the presentation I saw this morning the presenter lost at least 50% of the allotted time.

Ray Franklin

The Audience Advocate

702-879-8177

production.director@gmail.com


We can hear you but we can't understand what you are saying

Intelligibility - A loud sound system means nothing if you can't understand what is being said. How many times have you heard a band and you can't separate the words from the background? Worse yet a guest speaker?

Photo by permission from Chris Walsh

Photo by permission from Chris Walsh

In a recent post by Audio Precision they offer new software to measure intelligibility.

"Measuring speech intelligibility is an important capability for engineers designing and validating a wide range of communication systems, products and components, especially those related to public safety (e.g., police, fire, emergency) where intelligibility is critically important."

I equate good sound to that of a flashlight beam. If you are in a totally dark room with a flashlight, anything in the "beam" of light will be clearly visible. Anything else in the dark room will have a "glow" from the flashlight but with diminished clarity.

A sound system should deliver direct sound to every audience member. If not, some of your audience will be in the "glow" of the sound system, but not able to detect the difference between "sitting" and something much worse.

Importance of speech intelligibility - Audio Precision

The purpose of communication systems is to transmit information via speech. As such, the intelligibility—or comprehensibility—of the transmitted speech is of utmost importance. One of the more precise definitions of intelligibility is the proportion of speech items (words and/or speech sounds) uttered by a talker, and sent via a communication system, that can be recognized by the listener.

Don't accept a sound system that only delivers noise. Insist on quality, direct sound to every audience member. Not just filling the room with noise.

Professional sound systems are "tuned" by experts, many using software similar to what Audio Precision offers.

Meeting planners can not expect the typical in-house-AV supplier to understand any of this. During planning, insist you are able to test, with your ears, every section of the audience's ability to understand the content.

Insist every member of your audience can see and hear. #AudienceAdvocate - Google it

STOP apologizing for the AV at the beginning of your next meeting

What does every audience expect?

The following observations are from more than 20 years supporting large and small events worldwide.

Designation of Events Industry Council (EIC) Certified Meeting Planner “CMP” is no guarantee AV gets the same attention as other event details.

This issue of the #AudienceAdvocate blog is prompted by a recent MPI meeting at the home of the Miami Dolphins Hard Rock Stadium.

Unusual venues have great event opportunities. AV details are ignored just as much as the typical convention hotel or convention center.

If the bottom of the screen must be 5'6" for everyone to see, what where they thinking? 

If the bottom of the screen must be 5'6" for everyone to see, what where they thinking? 

Every experienced meeting planner knows to pay attention to these “basics.”

  • Comfortable surroundings
  • Temperature, seating, timely schedule, easy access, close parking, clean restrooms
  • Quality food and content
  • Attention to detail with food selection and service
  • Rehearsed meeting presentations
  • Dance band or DJ and appropriate décor ·      

AV details are ignored.

  • Can every audience member see and hear?
  • Screen(s) large enough to read everything from the back of the room
  • Screens high enough (5’6” minimum) to the bottom of each screen
  • Bright projector with backup projector or spare lamp
  • Backup computer with same PowerPoint™ program loaded
  • RF (not Infared) remote control for graphics
  • No ambient light on the screen
  • Minimize ambient noise in the room – air conditioner, adjacent events
  • Blackout drapes on any daylight windows
  • Sound system tested with each speaker to insure proper volume and clarity
Does the venue know the sun sets at the same time every day in those windows?

Does the venue know the sun sets at the same time every day in those windows?

Until AV is given the same attention as catering, AV will be a stepchild, ignored by even the most seasoned meeting planner.

Missing on every MPI meeting evaluation –

  • How would you rate the - 
    • AV
    • Lighting
    • Sound
    • Could you clearly understand all the presenters?
    • Were you able to read all content on the screens without distraction?

How do avoid apologizing for the AV at the beginning of your next meeting? Add an #AudienceAdvocate to your meeting team.

Please "share" this post with colleagues - Ray Franklin – 702-879-8177  

rfranklin@stageamerica.com