Friday, September 07, 2007

Presentation Tips

Here are some tips for giving a presentation when you want to show some web pages or other applications.

Quickly Switch between PowerPoint and a Web Page (or other application)

In Windows [Alt][Tab] will let you switch between any open windows. If a window is minimized, it will open.

On a Mac, [Command][Tab] will let you switch between running applications. If you have more than one window for an application open, you will need to click on the desired window or use [Control]1 (or the appropriate number) to bring the correct window to the front. If a window is minimized, it will NOT be opened. SO... be sure to have only the applications you want to show during your presentation open and set up as you want them to be shown before starting your presentation. Also on a Mac, be sure to Quit any unused applications so they won't appear in the list of applications to open.

Save Your Presentation as a PowerPoint Show

If you save your presentation as a PowerPoint Show, you won't have the ugly editor window as an application/window option. Just start the show and you are ready to go.

If you will be giving your presentation on a different computer, you will want to package it. Jeffrey SoRelle wrote a great set of instructions at: Package PowerPoint for Removable Media.

Make it legible from a distance

Before you show a web page to your audience, increase the text size to where they can read it from a distance. Showing a web page with the fonts at the same size that you use when working will not be legible from the back of the room. In Firefox you can use [Ctrl]+ or View ([Command]+ on a Mac) -> Text Size -> Increase to increase the size of the text. This may distort the layout of a page. Images will not be increased. In MSIE, [Ctrl]+ Zooms the page, including images.

In Firefox, I recommend getting the PageZoom add-on. This enables you to zoom all tabs and increases the size of images as well.

In MSIE 7, you will want to use Page -> Zoom rather than Page -> Text Size because many pages don't change their text size with this option and it doesn't increase the images' size.

Show only what you want them to see

On a PC, show your browser in Full Screen mode (View -> Full Screen) or [F11] in both Firefox and MSIE.
On a Mac, Firefox and Safari do not have this feature. On a Mac, you will want to hide the toolbars you don't want to show (View -> Toolbars).

Make it easy to go to the next web page

Before you get up in front of the audience, open all of the pages you want to show in new tabs and position them in the order you want to show. Rather than clicking on a link, move to the next tab. Unless you are very confident that there won't be ANY problems with the internet connection, connection speed or the web site you are going to show, I would strongly recommend having all the pages already loaded. More than once, I have lost an internet connection when giving an important presentation. Which brings me to the next tip.

Have a backup plan!
This works if you won't have an internet connection or if you have one and you lose your connection. Save the pages you want to show to your hard drive (or flash memory stick, CD, etc.). In Firefox 2, use File -> Save Page As and choose Web Page Complete for the file type. In MSIE, use File -> Save As and choose Webpage Complete for the file type. This will create an html file and a folder with all the graphics and other necessary files. Be sure to keep both the html file and the folder together.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

Practice giving your presentation on another computer to make sure that ALL of the files you need are on your backup flash memory stick or CD. To make sure your backup web pages are all there, test it on a computer that hasn't visited the sites you are showing (or clear your browser's cache) and is disconnected from the internet.

Practice giving your presentation using the same equipment with which you will be presenting. Become familiar with the mouse, pointer, remote, etc.

Practice in the room where you will be giving the presentation. Become familiar with your surroundings and all the equipment. Know where you will be standing so you won't be blocking the audience's view. Look at your busiest slide from the back of the room. Look at it as though you were the most visually impaired person in the crowd.

Oh yeah, did I mention that you should practice your presentation?

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