I think it takes a lot of effort and courage to stand up in front of an audience and give a presentation. Adding a demo into this mix only makes this worse, and so the SQLBIts organisers setup a speaker training day at our offices yesterday ran by Guy Smith-Ferrier. Part of this was getting your laptop ready to present and I wanted to add a couple of tips to the excellent resources Guy as made available everyone on his site.
Hopefully most of you know that the windows logo key(logo) P will bring up the projector settings..
but logo X (initially seen in Vista) is even more useful and not as well known..
Note Dell have added some goodness to my screen here as other vendors do, but the top section is part of Windows
You might want to check some of these setting well before you start to present:
- Are you running on mains power at full performance?
- Turn on presenter mode this can be further customised by clicking on it:
To set an optional background for your presentation as not everyone needs to see your loved one(s) , Ferrari, football team etc. and clean backgrounds during demos make it easier to see what’s going on. You can also turn off your screensaver and set a different volume level.
- Connectivity may be important to you but is a risk in any demo so have a backup plan.
Guy also emphasised the need to set a nice big font in all the tools used in a demo be that Visual Studio, PowerShell, Command line. That can take time to do and makes it awkward to use your machine for normal work while it’s set like that. One of the audience in the training session was to create a demo user account and have all those settings in that profile leaving your normal profile for normal work. You’ll want to be clever with permissions here but i think that’s a great idea.
Another approach is to use the built in Windows 7 zoom keys to focus on an area of the screen: logo + zooms in, logo – zooms out and logo Esc exits. Don’t do it too often though as it can make some people feel ill.
My additional Windows 7 demo top tips relate to display and remote desktop:
- While Windows 7 does a pretty good job at picking up the projector capabilities, I have seen it get thrown by some of the newer graphics outputs, such as VDI out and the new display port. Some of these don’t work properly unless the port is connected so your only option is to boot with the projector connected if this is the case. I did have a machine like this and ditched in favour of one with the trusty old vga out on the back (although it does have VDI too).
- Also be aware that remote desktop or any connection to a virtual machine will get thrown when you resize your actual desktop for the projection size, so I try and find out what size the projector will work at and manually set this up first, both in the physical and in Remote Desktop as per my Remote Desktop post a couple of weeks ago.
- Be prepared for 1024 x 768 as this is the lowest common denominator for projectors out there.
I have learnt most of this the hard way, so read this and Guy’s stuff so you don’t have to!