6 must know technical tricks that will make you look like a presentation pro

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Do you feel confident when you are close to a computer?

I ask you this because I see that there is often a disconnect between the presenter and his tools. What do I mean? I often see presenters struggling to put their slides on screen, saying – as a disclaimer – that they are no “Powerpoint experts” and appearing clueless in front of their own slideshow.

6 must know TECHNICAL TRICKS that will make you look like a PRESENTATION PRO

If you are not confident with your computer or slideshow software you may think that it’s a good idea to separate yourself from it. In other words you may try to excuse or explain your lack of knowledge by distancing yourself from the technology.

I am sorry but that makes you look like a fool. Most of the knowledge you need to display a Powerpoint presentation can be easily memorised the first time you do a presentation. Learn these keyboard shortcuts and you will look like an advanced presenter.

Let’s begin with the first and most important keyboard shortcut: assuming you are on Windows pressing the F5 key while your document is open in Microsoft Powerpoint puts your slides fullscreen. Simple, fast and easy!

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Alt+Cmd+P will do the same in Apple Keynote on a Mac.

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Shift+Cmd+Enter will do the trick on Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac (but if you are on a Mac you should just not use Office and stick with iWork).

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In all these programs there are some common keyboard tricks: either hitting the space bar or the right arrow will let you go to the next slide.

You just need to know another little shortcut: if you hit the B key your screen will go black. B is for black and W, you just guessed it, makes your screen go white. This is very useful if you want your audience to momentarily concentrate on you, an not on your presentation.

If you do more than one presentation every couple of months invest 50 bucks on a remote. I just got a new one from Logitech that also has a timer on it to keep track of the time discreetly: it just buzzes in your hand every five minutes to let you know that time is passing. Here’s the model I got.

This minimal technical knowledge and a simple technological wonder like a remote can easily increase your technological confidence and make you look like a real presentation pro.

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  • Eam

    Don’t forget. Type the slide number and press enter to go directly to the slide. Very useful when you want to skip a bit when short on time.

    • matteocassese

      Awesome tip Eam. Thanks!

  • I enjoyed your viewpoint, Matteo. If the speaker struggles with their laptop, the audience feels uncomfortable, and as you say that’s not a good start.

    If you’re presenting in front of people around a desk (in a business situation), you might like this 2-step way to start your slideshow automatically when your laptop starts:
    http://remotepossibilities.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/how-to-start-a-high-stakes-presentation-instantly/

    (I prefer that to pressing F5, because F5 often means your audience sees PowerPoint’s own window, which is typically cluttered with buttons, thumbnails, slide notes, etc.)

    You might also like the technique I suggest for showing a relevant slide for every new question in Q&A – no matter what people ask! (Please just search my blog for “hypnosis” to find out that one.)

    Would love to hear your thoughts on those tips. And by all means leave a back-link to your own post if you’d like to.

    Thanks for improving presenters’ technical literacy – there’s plenty of need for that!

    • matteocassese

      Hi Craig, thanks for linking your post and I like your techniques.
      I’m curious: how do you pull off the “question time” trick?

      • Please see http://remotepossibilities.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/stop-qa-hypnosis/

        It uses Eam’s tip of jumping to any slide. I suggest preparing some slides specifically for answering questions, but if you get a question you didn’t prep for, show a more generic slide instead. (You can find some examples in the “hypnosis” post above.)

        • matteocassese

          Right. I think that Q&A is a good time to have your twitter handle and email address on screen. Printing a cheat sheet and preparing more slides does seem to me a little like an over optimization 🙂

          • Yeah, my tip’s most useful online. If your webinar’s Q&A goes for 5 or 10 minutes, people will zone out if the same slide’s staring at them the whole time.