If you watch enough presentations, you start to see things that detract from the message. The speaker has to plug in, power up, and press control-shift-F9 a bunch of times. He has to try to make smalltalk in this period – smalltalk that he didn’t expect to do. During the talk, he may have to turn around to face the screen (away from the audience) to read the bullet points. Another annoyance is when the speaker only reads the bullet points; the information tends to come out clipped and awkward. (See Peter Norvig’s hypothetical If Lincoln had PowerPoint for an example)
My take on that is that if all the speaker is going to do is read the bullet points, I might as well have downloaded the powerpoint from his website and saved the conference fee.
More than annoyances, some things just cause an awkward pause in the discussion. Drinking a glass of water can be natural, but powerpoint forces some things, like slide transitions, to be awkward. The speaker finishes his thought and has to walk over to the laptop, click the down button, and check to see if it worked; or worse yet, spend the entire talk in front of the podium to avoid that problem.
Or, for fifty bucks, you could get a
Wireless Presenter and advanced slides where-ever you like.
That particular model comes with a laster pointer; mine doesn’t have the laser pointer, but they can be helpful and you only save ten bucks by skipping that.
Or course, when I use these, I turn my head to verify that the slide worked, but that’s about it. Occasionally, I have accidentally advanced a slide when I didn’t want to, and not noticed it until later.
Still, it’s a tool that helps make the presentation seamless, and it’s cheap and small, and it’s not a trick or manipulation.
That’s enough presentation tools for now. Tomorrow: Testing tools …