I have done several presentations over the last couple of weeks and overall I am very pleased with how they have gone (they could always go better). However it seems like there are always things that pop up when giving a presentation or a demo. So I thought I would share a few of the gotchas with you so that you can avoid them happening to you.

Plug in your laptop - no matter how charged you thing your battery is

I get about 2 1/2 to 3 hours of battery life when my Dell is fully charged; very good considering that it is powering the Bluetooth, wireless and a second hard drive in the modular drive bay. Chris Bernard and I were doing the ArcReady event in Downers Grove last week. Chris was going to do the first hour and 1/2 on my Dell and I was going to do the second hour and 1/2 on an ACER machine that is set up for demos. No need to plug in the Dell - Wrong! Chris had set the laptop into presentation mode (a best practice), we had plugged in a presenter’s mouse, we had an external drive hooked up that had Chris’s presentation on it and finally it was plugged into the overhead projector. All of which draw extra power over when I am just banging out e-mail on the laptop. The battery did not last an hour and we got no warning that it was going to shut down because PowerPoint was in “show mode”.

It is okay to be late to a user group meeting - unless you are the presenter

On Friday night I had the opportunity to present to the Web Design Meetup group which is also the Milwaukee Area Adobe User Group. I was grateful that the user group leader, Luke Kilpatrick, would allow me to present Silverlight to the group. I always want to put on a good presentation, but I especially wanted to make a good showing for the Adobe group. I live about 15-20 minutes from the user group meeting, so I left 45 minutes before the meeting start time. I ran smack into a huge traffice jam going to Miller Park for the Twins @ Brewers game. The game was a sell out and to complicate matters all the parking lots were closed, so all the cars on the freeway had nowhere to go. I had to call Luke and tell him that I was running late. In the end I was only about 5 minutes late to the meeting and everybody understood.

Sometimes it pays to run late. About 1 hour and 15 minutes into the presentation a guy walked in to the user group (so over an hour late). He only got to see about 10 minutes of the presentation and most of that was the Q&A period. We ended with a raffle of Vista Ultimate that I brought as a give away. The guy that came in late won the copy of Vista.

Ask if there is anything you should know about the A/V Equipment

I was at the Microsoft Office in Indianapolis tonight for the first ever Team System SIG.  Paul Hacker started his presentation at about 6:10 PM (after the pizza and the introductions) about 5 minutes into his presentation the entire system shut down - the entire system! It took me a minute to figure out that the A/V system had a shutdown time of 6:00 PM every night. The clock must have been off by a few minutes. The worst part of it was that you had to wait for the projector to shut down completly before you could power the system back up.