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What I've Learned in Business So Far...

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Artisan Fan, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2008

    Wonderful and insightful quote.
  2. Maximator

    Maximator Well-Known Member

    Mar 31, 2012
    Having read all the discussions on PPT presentations, I am amazed that no one(that I could see) talked about the practicalities of it all.

    PPTs are a HUGE effin magnet for screw ups.

    Let's say that you have a brilliant presentation, you know exactly what to say, you're dressed to impress and feel like you own the world. However when you arrive, the projector is not set up yet, and your clients are starting to arrive. Next, you realize that you(being the stylish person that you are) have a macbook air(aka USB port) and the projector only has serial port. By now you are slightly nervous and pray that someone has the all important USB-Serial converter. They don't. Next, you want to hook up your laptop to the speakers, but then someone tells you that the speaker cable is on the other end of the table, meaning you'll be standing on one side of the table and your presentation will be on another(so now all participants have to turn their heads every time they want to switch from looking at you to the presentation). As a solution, you appoint one of your underlings to do the clicking for you. Bad idea. He's only used windows and isn't familiar with your mac, leading to screw ups.
    By now, everyone's arrived, and you start your presentation rather nervous and barely on time. Guess what. The fact that your presentation is brilliant will not save you from being labeled incompetent by the audience due to your lack of preparation.

    So, without further ado, I present Maximators practical PPT guide(applicable to most kinds of presentations)

    1. BE EARLY!!!
    This is the single most important tip for you. You never know what might happen, either on the way or at the location. Aim to arrive 40 minutes before the presentation starts(if it's a familiar location you can reduce that). You should also aim to be able to start your presentation 10 minutes before schedule. Why? Simple, you don't want people to see you prepare right up until the presentation. On a related note, don't go over/review your PPT/speech in front of clients, it looks unprofessional. If you are alone, the go for it, otherwise, NO. So let's say everything goes perfectly, what do you do with your extra 20 minutes? You relax, talk to people/clients.

    Technology can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Everything from speakers to projectors have potential pitfalls. Mini guide:
    1. Make sure you have the right connectors. Projectors usually have serial ports, not all of them have USB. Make sure you have the right connector.
    2. Speakers - Make sure they are of good quality and loud enough. Bad speakers are MUCH worse than no speakers at all.
    3. Test the Projector first and find it's optimal position and pre-dial the sharpness setting. You should also check that the projector is strong enough for a lit room. Many aren't. If yours isn't, then make sure that the Q/A section is in a good light and that there is enough light for people to take notes(remember, old people tend to have worse eyesight, take that into account).
    4. Get a laser pointer. If there are things you need to point out, NEVER EVER use your hand, you'll cover half the slide. Plus, laser pointers are cool.
    5. If you're going to send out attachments, remember to use the right format. While many have upgraded to the latest versions of word, many others haven't. You don't want people to not be able to read your documents because of compatibility issues. Be especially aware of that if you're in emerging markets(China and the likes). Many here still think that Internet explorer is the pinnacle of browser technology, and most people here don't know how to work on a mac(mostly because there are very few around. This applies to computer repair shops as well, btw).

    You're the boss during this presentation. How you say things is just as(if not more) important than the message itself. If you can't convince the people that you are the most badass person for the job, someone else probably will. In the case that they don't, you're lucky but you're still just average. If public speaking makes you uncomfortable, read a book, take a course, practice the hell out of your presentation, do anything to be the BOSS(a word of caution here, there is a very fine line between authoritative and just plain arrogant. Don't cross the line)

    These are the 3 main points that I want to convey to you today. Hope it helped.

    PS, if you write long posts here SF, PLEASE for the love of everything that's good, don't write a "Wall of text". Use paragraphs, bullet points etc. It makes your insights A LOT easier and most importantly enjoyable to read. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  3. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

    Aug 15, 2008
    Man, I always make sure never to go anywhere without my USB to Serial converter.

    Thankfully my projector has a CDROM port which lets me stream my presentation from the Cloud
  4. byau

    byau Member

    Jul 11, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    I think that guy means Serial to Displayport adapter.

    Have to disagree with you on the laser pointer though. Only place I've ever seen that acceptably used was at university. Whenever a client, consultant, or whoever breaks a laser pointer in a typically sized conference room, I just roll my eyes.

    On the other hand, a remote slide advancer is much more useful and much less douchey.
  5. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

    Aug 15, 2008

    still :facepalm:

    If you are going to do this in someone else's conference room, at least learn what these things are called so you don't look like a fool when you are trying to tell the client's IT guy what you need to get up and running.

    Almost every projector will have a VGA input. Most business laptops will have a VGA output for this reason. Some projecters will have a digital DVI port and some modern laptops have these instead of VGA (but if the projector only has VGA, there is a simple adaptor that works). More modern projectors will have an HDMI port which can either go to a mini-HDMI port on a laptop or to a DVI cable, both through simple adaptor cables. Almost no projectors will have DisplayPort or mini displayport or thunderbolt ports. If you have a Mac, you *must* bring your own adapter because they probably won't have the adapters or conversion cables.

    VGA is your best bet though...for sure. There's not a conference room in existence that can take any of those other plugs but can't do VGA.
  6. ChicagoRon

    ChicagoRon Well-Known Member

    Jan 14, 2007
    Chicago, IL
  7. CTGuy

    CTGuy Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2002

    Just want to say what an excellent thread this is. I'm about halfway through and I am really enjoying it.

    Thanks AF!
  8. MrChris

    MrChris Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
    Many good advice, thank's to all who contributed!
  9. hobbahobba

    hobbahobba Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    "Think global, BE local"
  10. Relentless

    Relentless Active Member

    May 14, 2011
    What we do in life...echoes in eternity
    PowerPoint presentation? Fuck that. I feel sorry for all of you.

    I do like the travel tips and some of the other general ideas.

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