Go these ten extra steps when using overhead projection bulbs and computer projection
LCD and DLP projectors paired with laptop computers have undeniably changed the way presentations are delivered. They encourage the use of color, photography, animation, even three-dimensional effects. The portable and ultraportable models have led on-the-go presenters to take along their own equipment — for assurance that proper equipment will be available and for ease of familiarity — no matter what far-flung outpost they are visiting.
If you've recently adopted such technology, you're likely to read at least part of the user's manual to learn how to configure and adjust the system. Once you've mastered the physical connections and the software, remember to go these extra 10 steps to make presenting with computer projection smooth and comfortable for both you and your viewing audience.
1. Check colors for accuracy.
Be aware that colors will vary among the desktop on which you designed the presentation, the laptop screen and the projection screen. If an exact color is important (for example, in a company logo), test and adjust the color in its final projected form ahead of time.
2. Keep the colors and special effects simple.
Use no more than six colors on each slide. Use slide transitions and builds to entertain without detracting from your message. A partial build, for instance, will reveal one point at a time, allowing your audience to stay right with you.
3. Test your slides for size and readability.
Stand 6 feet away from the computer monitor. If you can read the monitor, your audience will likely be able to read the screen.
4. Turn off all screen savers.
Remember to disable the screen savers on your computer — any that are part of the Windows software, plus the one that comes with the laptop. You would be embarrassed if you were talking about important points on the screen only to realize your audience is staring at flying toasters. It is even worse should your energy saver kick in and shut down the whole presentation.
5. Learn how to use the toggle switch.
Find the switch that shows the image on both the computer and projection screens. Often this toggle is a function key; it controls whether your laptop or projector — or both — are on (showing an image). You want both to be on so you can look at the laptop while the audience watches the same image behind you on the screen.
6. Arrive early and test everything.
Reread this line — again!
7. Stand on the left side as the audience sees you.
Because in English we read from left to right, if you stand on the right side, attendees' eyes will have to make too many movements to read your slides and watch you. If you stand to the audience members' left, however, they can look at you, follow your gesture to the screen — reading left to right — then return their eyes to you. If you present using Hebrew or other languages that are read right to left, reverse the approach, and stand to the audience's right side of the screen.
8. You are the show. Be heard and be seen.
Too many people hide in the dark behind the laptop. You should stand away from the computer and in the light. Use a remote mouse so you can walk away from the computer. Arrange the lighting in the room so you are in the light while the screen is dark. To do this well, you might even need to unscrew some of the light bulbs.
9. Motion attracts people's eyes.
Gesture to the screen when you want audience members to look there. Use moving text to grab their attention. Stand still when you want them to focus on the screen. Then move when you want to capture their attention again.
10. Murphy loves applying his law to technology.
Any little thing might go wrong, so be ready to give your presentation without the hardware. If your presentation absolutely must be given by computer projection, have a backup system. Be prepared with backup files, a power source for the laptop and projector, and batteries for your remote mouse.
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Mark Harris contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.discount-light-bulbs.com.
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