Apart from presentation props, what should you bring to a presentation engagement? Here’s a list of items to include in your presenter’s kit. Bring them along and you’ll be prepared to recover from unexpected issues that can crop up on presentation day.
Laptop and vital accessories
Even if you’re invited to use a computer at the presentation venue, bring along your own laptop. Ideally you’re familiar with it, comfortable with it, and know how to de-bug it if it misbehaves. At the least you’ll be more comfortable with it than a strange new computer! Don’t forget to bring your charger, too. You know how batteries have a nasty way of running down, right in the middle of something important….
Also, don’t forget to pack any cables or adapters you might need to be able to connect to the projector. If there’s any way to do so, check the ports on the venue’s equipment in advance so you know what you might need. Even if you can connect up wirelessly (as is more and more common these days), it’s good to have good old-fashioned cables, just in case.
Soft copy of your slides
Circumstances can sometimes make it necessary to use someone else’s computer for your presentation. In most cases that won’t be a problem, but sometimes software differences can make your presentation look all wrong when you use other equipment. For example, if you’ve prepared your visuals using PowerPoint, and the equipment you’re forced to use is running an older version of Keynote or Impress, your slides may not display correctly – and there goes your polished presentation.
Fortunately, there are a few ways around this kind of potential bug. First, you can back up your presentation on a portable drive in both PPT and PDF formats. If the venue has good internet access, and you’ve stored your slides in the cloud (in Google Drive, for example – or Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.) you can access it from there. Uploading your presentation to SlideShare is another good option. These measures give you another nice advantage, too: you can readily share a link to your slides with others, for future reference.
Wireless presentation controller
Using a wireless device to control your presentation slides allows you to explore the stage, be more dynamic and better connect with your listeners. Without one, you’re be tied to your computer. Fortunately, there are apps available to let you use a smartphone or other device as a remote – so this is a pretty easy tip to implement. If there’s no way to control the slides remotely, you could ask someone else to stay at the computer and change slides for you (using a pre-arranged signal), but this can be a bit clumsy, and takes the presentation out of your full control.
Whatever remote device you decide to use, be sure to check it for full charge, well before you take the stage.
Important printed documents
Although we’re becoming more and more accustomed to paperless communications, it’s still wise to bring printed copies of the following items. You never know when they’ll come in handy (or save the day).
- Introduction – If you’re to be introduced by someone, and have provided that person with a prepared introduction or biographical material, it’s a good idea to have an extra copy on hand, just in case the introducer has lost or forgotten their copy.
- Your slides, in handout form – Particularly useful if you’re presenting to people who have easy access to the internet. (Yes, there are still people in that situation!)
Presentation engagements serve as great opportunities for networking, and for meeting others who might need your public speaking services in the future. Bring enough business cards for marketing and networking purposes.
Some of these steps items might seem obvious or trivial, but you’d be surprised at how often they’ve salvaged a potential mess. As an old proverb says, “The motto of the wise is, be prepared for surprises.”
What other items do you make sure to bring along when you speak at an event? Share your advice and experiences with us in the comments.