If you deliver electronic presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint or other presentation software programs, how do you advance to the next or previous slide? You can move forward to the next slide with the keyboard or the mouse but this can be awkward or keep you locked in near your laptop. For more professional results, choose to navigate through your presentation with a remote control.
Many projectors come standard with a remote but features vary and may not always be easy to use. A better choice is to buy your own personal presentation remote control. When evaluating a remote, look for these features and decide what is important to you:
I was reminded of the importance of an easy to use remote when I watched an excellent presenter pull out a huge remote that looked a price scanner gun from Home Depot. As he fumbled with a large panel of buttons, the remote dropped to the floor and broke open with batteries flying across the stage.
While you can locate some remotes at your local computer store or office supply outlet, your best option may be to find someone who has a remote and try it out. My favorite is the RemotePoint Navigator (www.smklink.com/products/remotepoint-navigator) which is easy to use, fits comfortably in my hand, and gives me up to 50′ of movement from my laptop. I’ve owned this remote for 10 years now but it is still reliable. Another great remote for about $80 is the Logitech Professional Presenter R800 (www.logitech.com) which includes a green laser and a cool timer which vibrates to tell you when your presentation time is up.
There are many other models and brands to consider. Personally, I don’t like remotes loaded with tons of features that you might not need; these remotes are typically bigger or more complicated to use. Remember, you should be using a remote so that you don’t call attention to the technology and your audience can focus on your content.
After you buy a remote, practice with it before you use it. Don’t just try it at your desk, you need to also setup your laptop and remote and actually run through your presentation. The first time I did this, the screen kept going black or I would accidentally advance to the next slide. The problem wasn’t with the remote; it was that I was holding my presentation handout in the same hand and accidentally hitting a remote button through the handout. An easy adjustment but not obvious if my only rehearsal was in my office.
I personally like to choreograph my slide actions into my presentation notes to avoiding looking back at the projection screen to check my location. Or, setup your laptop in the meeting room so you can glance at the screen and still keep the connection with your audience.
Rehearsing with your remote should be a built-in part of your presentation rehearsal to avoid distracting your audience and accomplishing the goal of communicating your message.
Bonus Tip: Always bring extra batteries; many speakers change out batteries for every presentation. If possible, label the remote or put several business cards in the carrying case in the event that your remote is misplaced.
By Dawn Bjork, MCT, The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer, Technology Speaker, Software Consultant