By Jennifer Goforth Gregory
Technology failures — or even just minor hiccups — can easily derail business presentations, overshadowing the many hours of work that went into them. It pays to over-prepare your presentation setup, using innovative technologies to ensure it all goes smoothly.
The next time you present for a client meeting or big seminar at a trade show, consider these five tech tools and services:
1. Pocket Projectors
Yes, you can rely on the venue's projectors, but then you're leaving one of the most important parts of your presentation to chance. And there is always the possibility of it not syncing up with your laptop. When you bring your own pint-sized pocket projector, you can be confident that it will work correctly. It's a small device that you plug into your laptop, and it projects images the same size as a regular projector. Another bonus: Since it fits in your carry-on luggage, there's less chance of losing it during your travels.
2. Presentation Remotes
Each time you have to stop your speech to advance the slides, you lose focus. Holding a spotlight presenter remote, which is similar to a TV remote control, allows you to change a slide from up to 100 feet away. And when you're not tethered to your laptop by the need to change slides, you can walk around freely, focusing on delivering your presentation and holding your audience's attention.
3. Digital Whiteboards
The next time you want to collect ideas or input from your audience, use a digital whiteboard, which allows you to take notes directly on your presentation. It's a simple device that you can set in front of the room like a regular whiteboard, with just a cord or two to plug in. After the presentation, you can also share the data with a few clicks, which saves time and makes you look even more professional.
4. Immediate Access to a Help Desk
Picture this: It's five minutes until you're on stage, but you can't get the projector to work over the wireless, and you feel your blood pressure rising. But instead of anxiously asking around for help, you can dial up an expert to walk you through your tech problems.
You may be able to line up support at the event venue, but it's also good practice to arrange for more consistent help from your technology vendor. Your tech vendor may be able to speak more knowledgeably about the tools you are using, and you can access their help any time. Arranging on-call tech support could help you both at off-site events and the home office.
5. Virtual Private Network
Many business meeting places have public, unsecured WiFi. Accessing it to do a presentation can put business information at risk, so it's a smart idea to line up a contract with a virtual private network (VPN) provider ahead of time. Instead of connecting directly to the internet, you transmit through a secure server hosted by the VPN provider, and your data is encrypted.
A few innovative technologies can help prevent those sweat-inducing tech snafus that so frequently disrupt business events. Prepare a toolkit of tech tools and services ahead of time so you can focus on the substance of your presentation.