Meeting technology

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


Social media in meetings - The Backchannel

Since 1982 I have been among the pioneers in new meeting technology (from 50 slide projectors on one screen to live broadcast quality seminars and MeetingNet Interactive Media (now OptionTechnologies). We embrace the use of new technology in our client's successful meetings.  Call me to discuss how to use Twitter in your next event.

Today I attended a webinar hosted by Cliff Atkinson, author of The Backchannel, A Presenter's Nightmare, or a Dream Come True? Cliff is the very successful author of Beyond Bullet Points.

Ready or not, the backchannel has arrived!  Armed with laptops and smartphones, audiences are no longer sitting quietly while speakers are talking – instead they’re using Twitter and other tools to create a backchannel where they chat with one another, make comments about your presentation and broadcast their thoughts to people all over the world.

If audiences are happy, the backchannel can spread your ideas far and wide, create buzz about your ideas and keep a conversation going long after you left the podium.  But if audiences are unhappy, the backchannel can criticize your ideas and delivery, disrupt your talk and even derail your presentation completely.

So is the backchannel yet another thing to fear when you give your next presentation?  Or a great opportunity to really know what your audience is thinking?

I continue researching the various ways to use social media in meetings.

Ray Franklin

Stage America


Meeting running long?

I have to pass this along. I subscribe to a meeting tech newsletter from Jeez, I Wish This Boring Meeting Would End Soon – Well, maybe not, but perhaps we can get you out of there quicker. Have you tried Phone My Phone Enter the phone number, as well as the time you want to be “interrupted” from your meeting, and the service will call you on your cell phone. You can schedule it to call a number of times…if you need people to really notice how in demand you are. Oh yeah, you can use it to remind yourself of something you have to do…or even to help you find your phone if it’s lost.

Try will love it.