I have been a member of a few Toastmasters clubs over the years. I have noticed on a few occasions that although speeches have been prepared, some have been unprepared regarding their Powerpoint presentations and proper setup.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
– If using an existing computer:
IF the computer in the room is logged in, it should be easy enough to plug in a USB thumb drive (assuming ports are available) and open the presentation (assuming Powerpoint is installed). Ensure the projector HDMI cable is connected to the back of the computer, press the power button on the wall panel or on the projector itself, and it should be good to go.
– Bring your laptop anyway as a “Plan B”.
Ensure it has an HDMI port, or bring an HDMI adapter that the projector’s HDMI cable can plug into. If it’s not the same computer you created the presentation on, confirm that either Powerpoint or Open Office (Google it, it’s free) is installed.
– Presentation Clicker
Although it’s not required for a Powerpoint presentation, it’s quite handy to have a wireless bluetooth clicker ($20 on Amazon, or maybe your club or members can share the expense?). It’ll make your speech and presentation go more smoothly as well, since you’re not rushing over to the laptop to press the “next” arrow key on the keyboard after each slide.
If your laptop doesn’t need to always be plugged in, the less cables in the way, the better! It’s best to have the laptop screen in front of you mirroring what’s on the projector screen behind you, so you’re not looking back to check after every slide to make sure it’s on the right slide or has moved on to the next slide.
– Bring an HDMI cable with you
Don’t assume one will be provided. Knowing technology the way it is, cables don’t always work. So I strongly suggest bringing your own just in case anyway. Better to invest in a longer one than a shorter one, just make sure people don’t trip over it. Ensure it is long enough to reach your laptop.
– Powerpoint vs Open Office
I haven’t used Microsoft Office for many years, and I don’t miss it. Open Office (free and open source, meaning community developed) is awesome! However, pay attention to the file format you’re saving files in. Don’t save the file with the “.ODT” file extension if you’re going to open it in Powerpoint. It won’t work. Save it in the “.PPT” file format. “.PPTX” should work as well, but NOT if the computer is running an older version of Office.
– Save your presentation in a couple of different places
It’s quick and easy to save your presentation on your laptop. Don’t save it to “the cloud” such as Google Drive or Dropbox, unless you KNOW your device works with the WIFI well at where you’re giving your presentation. Save it to your laptop AND to a couple of thumbdrives or an external hard drive.
You don’t want to be scrambling to make things work minutes before your speech and presentation, so please plan ahead. 🙂