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Tip: Ensure that you are reviewing a presentation in the same room where it is going to be presented

This was a tip given to me by my former manager, and over the years, it has proved a very effective tip. What is the tip ? The tip was one that had a part to play in the success of many presentations that I gave, but more in the negative sense. If I did not follow the tip for a certain presentation, I could see some problems happening that would have gone away if I had followed the tip. The tip is very simple – when giving a presentation, make sure that you do a dry run of the presentation in the same room and using the same equipment which will be used to give the presentation. Why so ? Well, consider that you have prepared a wonderful presentation, presenting the information in a structured manner, and you feel very satisfied. Now, somebody who comes to the room to receive the presentation is expecting the same, and would be more than willing to appreciate the presentation, but human nature looks for some imperfection and notices that very easily, the eye being drawn to something that seems out of place. What are some of the items that can change between when you made your picture perfect presentation on your laptop, and when you put it on a projector system connected to the same laptop:
– The colors that you see on your screen may not be the same as seen by the other through the projector system. The bright colors that you have chosen could turn dull and cause people to wonder why you have chosen such colors. This does happen, so you need some trial and effort with the projector to ensure that you are getting the colors right.
– When you have a particular screen resolution defined on your laptop (and if it is a high end laptop, you might have a high screen resolution). However, many projectors cannot support such a high resolution and shift to a lower resolution. There is a good change that the contents of your presentation may get disturbed by this, including sentences spilling over to new lines, and the like.
– You may have people on remote connections, getting the presentation over a network system such as those supported by Cisco for conferencing. In such cases, if you are using animations in your slideshows or videos, the same may not go through at the same speed to those on remote locations and they will be trying to catch up, resulting in their seeing something jarring. If you are having remote locations, check whether your content will display properly over such networks.
– When you are doing a dry run in the same room as the final presentation, you can check out the probable seating arrangement, and decide on your place of seating beforehand so that you are able to ensure that people get a good view of the presentation, and of you at the same time. Also, as in the above cases of conferencing with other such rooms, you can also check out the cameras inside the room and their area of focus to ensure that there is minimum time wasted when the meeting is actually happening. I have seen these kind of infrastructural issues take up upto 10 minutes of a 45 minute session, and that is your time wasted.

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