Let’s face it, the core of a presentation is you. Your knowledge and your ability to share that knowledge through whatever means you choose, slides, demos, sock puppets, whatever, is the primary tools you need to hone. Know what you know and be ready to acknowledge what you don’t. Put out the information as only you can. That’s the key to presenting.
A few things can help reduce your stress and make your life easier. Let’s talk about them.
My Presentation Tools
Whether your travel to the event or not, chances are good, that whatever code camp, SQLSaturday, or awesome event where you are presenting is not your home or office. This means, you can’t know what their set up is. Because of this, road warrior or not, if you want to be completely chill heading in, you need a few tools. Here’s my setup (not counting a bunch of cabling, although, I can share that if you really want):
Let’s start on the left.
MIFI. Why? Because connectivity through ANY venue is sometimes crappy. You do get the venues that have hard-wired connectivity which is usually very reliable, but they’re rare. Usually it’s hotel or college or venue WIFI. Frequently you have to share the bandwidth with the crowd. Nope. I use my MIFI device or my phone (two different providers, still a DBA at heart). If you are dependent on connectivity, don’t rely on the venue to supply it.
Presentation mouse. OK, that’s four presentation mice. The two I’m currently traveling with are the two on the bottom, the Canon and the, GLORIOUS, Logitech Spotlight. The Canon is a workhorse. It’s not fancy, but it’s functional. I have a full review of it here if you like (feel free to vote that up). The Spotlight. It’s fancy. And functional. Very fancy. However, maybe not for everyone, especially the price. The other two are more basic, and more affordable, Logitech presentation mice. There are one or two other ones kicking around the house somewhere. Why a presentation mouse? Because it gets you away from the keyboard. This is what enables you to walk around while presenting and still move slides. All of mine have a laser pointer so I can point at the screen (or the Spotlight…ahhh) while walking around the room. Your ability to move makes for more dynamic, and therefore more interesting, presentations.
Video adapters. Yes, more than one. These are all at the top right of the picture. My laptop has mini-HDMI. Very few venues support that. So, I have adapters to HDMI and VGA. You’ll need both. Yes, it’s current year, but lots and lots of people are using projectors that only support VGA. Be ready. I also have that Dell universal adapter that connects through USB. It supports HDMI, USB, VGA and a network connector. Why? Because some venues devices really don’t like HDMI, so you have to bypass that to make your VGA work. Video is likely to be your biggest pain. Be prepared for that.
USB Hub. At the bottom right of the picture. You frequently find a need to connect your presentation mouse, a regular mouse, maybe an external drive, power for the MIFI (forgot to charge it last night), my backup thumb drive with all the presentations & scripts (just in case, DBA remember), etc. and I only have two USB ports on my computer. So a USB hub expands that, quickly and easily. Plus, it makes it easier to manage some of the cables, dongles & adapters because, as you see there, I have them already connected. It makes setup and tear down when I’m presenting easier and faster.
You may not need all these depending on what you present (the MIFI for example). However, I recommend a presentation mouse and the video adapters, minimum. Once you put your tool kit together, test it. Practice. Set it up and tear it down a few times. Do not walk into the room where you are presenting without ever having configured your system for a presentation. Your audience will thank you.
Speaking of presentations, I’m doing some all day pre-cons at some upcoming events.
For SQLSaturday NYC on May 18, 2018. Go here to register.
For SQLSaturday Indianapolis on August 10, 2018. Please go here to sign up.
For SQLSaturday Oslo on August 31, 2018. Click here right now to register.