So you've prepared your presentation, rehearsed it, and you're ready to give it to your audience. Did you check what else you need to bring with you?
If you haven't heard from the organisers, the default at most events is still that the speaker will bring his or her own device, usually a laptop, with them.
What else do you pack? Here's a checklist:
Bring a Backup
The tried and tested and most compatible way to have a backup of your presentation with you is a PDF on a USB stick; this works pretty much everywhere. Of course a PDF does have some limitations over a fully-fledged presentation. So if you're using animations (sparingly, I would hope) or embedded movies, these will probably not work. Think of alternative ways to present movies and dump the animations.
Also, double-check the contents of the PDF before you pocket the USB stick to make sure that it really does contain what you think it contains. In particular, check for missing slides and wrong fonts.
Have another Backup online
With free or cheap online storage readily available, it would make sense to have another backup of your presentation online, just in case you lose that USB stick. But make sure you can actually access that backup when you don't have access to your own computer. These services usually need a password and sometimes even special client software.
If you have your own website, you could simply upload a copy there. Make sure you use an easy to remember URL and file name.
Can you plug it in? Don't forget your adapters.
The venerable VGA port is still the most widely used connector for projectors. However, laptops these days often don't have a VGA port any more, so make sure to bring the proper adapter cable with you.
Also, if you're travelling abroad, make sure you bring adapters for your laptop's power supply!
Do you need a remote? Does it work?
If you're using a remote (and you probably should), make sure that the batteries are still fresh. If in doubt, bring replacements.
What's the worst that can happen?
Make a worst-case scenario and consider how you would deal with it. What if the projector doesn't work? Is there a whiteboard or flip chart that you could use? Are there other alternatives? Maybe it would make more sense then to abandon your presentation and do a Q&A session instead.
If in doubt, ask!
As always, if anything about your presentation is not clear - whether it's about what you should bring, the content or things like the language - don't hesitate to ask the organisers! There's nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, this only shows that you care about your job as the presenter and about giving your audience the best possible experience.
So this is what I would take with me. Did I forget anything? What do you pack?
(Image Credits: "121028-F-CA540-239" by The 621st Contingency Response Wing, from Flickr)
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