When you’re planning a presentation-focused conference, your slideshow computer matters. Here are some quick tips to prevent slideshow embarrassment or disaster for your next conference.
1 - Turn off all notifications
It would be quite embarrassing to have your personal emails pop up on the big screen, and especially so to have texts, Facebook or instant messages pop up.
Log out of and close all applications that have notifications, and make sure you quit all messaging apps - programs like Slack, Skype, and more can “hide” in the taskbar even after you “x” out of the open window.
2 - Set your power preferences to “never sleep” and make sure your computer is plugged into power
If your computer sleeps mid conference, or if the battery dies, that’s a real show-stopper.
3 - Update Windows or MacOS AND Powerpoint or Keynote
Run the updates a day or two before the conference, and check again the night before the conference. You don’t want the computer to decide to auto-update during the keynote presentation.
4 - Turn off your screensaver
Your vacation photos? Pithy quotes? Let’s be real, no matter what your screensaver is, you don’t want all the conference attendees to see it.
5 - Clear your desktop
A cluttered desktop is distracting, and potentially embarrassing. Make a folder called “Desktop” on the desktop, and move all your icons and clutter into that folder. Drag the folder to the corner of the desktop, out of the way.
6 - Set a conference logo as wallpaper
Your kids and dog are cute, but that’s not the look you want for your meeting.
7 - Make sure you hook up audio for the presentation computer
Even if no one has told you they need it, someone always shows up with videos, and murphy’s law indicates that the one time you don’t hook up the audio is the one time the audio matters.
8 - Use a dedicated presentation computer
Following this tip solves all the above issues - Use a dedicated computer for presentations - one that is not used for everyday business or office computing. Ideally, it should be a relatively new computer, have a clean install of Windows or MacOS, and have no email software, messaging software, or any other software besides Microsoft Office and/or Apple Keynote and the three major web browsers. Don’t surf the web on it, don’t check your email, don’t watch Netflix. Only use it for presentations. After each conference delete all the old content and run software updates and security scans weekly to keep it running smoothly.
If you don't want to maintain a set of computers in this manner, it may be worth it to rent a dedicated computer from your AV Provider for your event.