First determine where and to how many people the presentation will be delivered. For a presentation in front of only a few people, you may only need your computer screen and access to the mouse button or space bar to advance the slides. Think about where and how long the presentation will be. If the screen is too small or is struck by direct sunlight, you may want to consider a different location or screen. Don’t forget power for the computer. You may need to be near a power outlet or have an extension cord ready.
For larger audiences, you may need to consider another screen, possibly a projection system. Will the presentation include any audio from a computer or other electronic source? If the computer’s built-in speakers won’t do the job, extra speakers may be necessary. If they need external power, make sure that you have a power strip or power splitter close to the sound system so that it too can be plugged in. If you are using an external screen or projector attached to a computer, you will likely need to know the keystroke or combination of keys needed to switch between the built-in screen and external video output. It’s also a wise idea to ensure that you have the correct connector to interface between the computer and external screen or projector. There are a few ways those devices interface so make sure to prepare in advance and test the connection early. You may also need to configure the computer to actually send a video signal to an external device. Note that the external screen or projector is likely to have a different aspect ratio than the computer on which the presentation was designed. When preparing your presentation, it’s best to maintain a margin around your pertinent content so that none of it gets cut off when the aspect ratio is changed. Macintosh computers usually need an adapter to connect to HDMI, VGA or DVI video cords. Those adapters are generally available at tech stores like Best Buy but if your presentation doesn’t start until 7PM on a Sunday evening and you need that adapter last minute, you might have to find another solution altogether.
Will the person or people who speak be close enough to the audience that they won’t need a microphone? Will a lapel, stand or podium-mounted, headset or handheld mic be best? They may want or need use of both of their hands during the presentation or will one be available for a handheld mic? If the audience is large enough that a mic is needed, you will also need a sound system that is powerful enough to get the sound to the audience. (A microphone by itself doesn’t amplify sounds.) The screen may need to be larger or you may want to have multiple screens set up, with video splitting equipment to get the same image to multiple projectors. If there are multiple presenters, will you need multiple microphones or will one microphone be enough? Your sound system may get a little more complex as will the video equipment installation. If you expect multiple video sources (more than one computer) or want to switch between different visuals during portions of the experience, you may also want to consider someone other than the presenter to actually operate the computer(s) and video switching equipment. Depending on how fancy you want to get with the presentation, you may greatly benefit by hiring an AV company to provide the equipment, take care of the installation and perhaps even assist with the operation of all the electronics as well. If you are in the Harrisburg, PA area, contact Rhythm System at 717-540-8826 or www.rhythmsystem.com. We have over 30 years of experience with our Harrisburg DJ services.
If the presenter isn’t going to be able to personally access/touch the computer during their presentation, a wireless presentation remote is another piece of equipment to consider. It just plugs in to a USB port and provides slide-advancing options and some even include a built-in laser pointer.
What else? Consider the lighting within the space to ensure that the screen will be visible but that the presenter is also visible. If the presenter will not have a computer screen in front of them, perhaps paper notes can be used but make sure that the font is large enough and there is adequate lighting on their pages for them to be readable. Spot lights on a podium or presenter are a great idea so that the whole stage and screen is not washed out. If you’re planning for something more spectacular, light the back wall of the stage or curtain. Maybe even project a company logo onto the walls on either side of the stage. If giving out awards but don’t want people to see them in advance, have a table cover over them but keep them within reach of the stage. A separate person can be assigned to manage the awards before and during the presentation. Perhaps a photographer will be needed to snap images of the awards being presented or product demo. Don’t forget music. Music before your presentation begins, traveling music for those who are announced to come to the stage and even music after the presentation concludes… all will add to the experience. Don’t forget the décor. You may want to add to, customize or even cover up something that’s an eyesore. Pipe and drape can be rented to create a fake wall and backdrop .
Will there be any handouts or takeaways from the presentation? Is the presenter’s contact info at the end or will you need to distribute or collect business cards or survey forms at the end of the meeting? Pens and paper, refreshments and hard candies are some other things to consider.
Lastly, make sure to adjust the computer so that the screen saver and power saving mode are disabled.