The Power of the Presentation Remote

PPT RemoteHow can something so simple, as a wireless presentation remote, make such a large difference?  The setting … a series of agency presentations competing for the business of a Fortune 250 firm, each were given 2 hours to state their proposed solution. 15 minutes before each presentation was allotted for arrival and set up; projector with AV-in plug for either Windows or MAC based pc, display easels and bare walls for presentation boards awaited. As each agency arrived, the same question was asked – where to place their pc for the presentation? The front of the room was the logical choice, however each agency had the same challenge ~ how to advance their Powerpoint presentation remotely.  The first agency had brought a remote, which appeared not to work, the second hadn’t brought one and the third had planned to let each presenter advance the slides manually. As part of the AV provided by the host firm, a simple wireless presentation remote was made available; to operate ignore the buttons on top, just pull back on the side wheel to go forward, push to go back. In the excitement of setting up, the functionality of “the remote” was explained to each lead presenter who then passed it on to each of their colleagues. Like the old telephone story game, where the information gets passed from person to person, not everyone got the message and during the adrenaline rush of presenting, having to deal with “how to advance” the slides became an issue. Some of the presenters easily picked up on how to use “the remote” while others were a bit flustered and distracted.  This need not be the case. Each agency should have had their own, pre-tested and functioning, $49 Powerpoint presentation remote.

This is an example of what the late Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon University entitled, “All You Have Is What You Bring With You” and the story of Norman Meyrowitz who as a student was giving a presentation when the bulb on the overhead projector blew. Norm reached into his backpack and just matter-of-factly pulled out a spare bulb and announced “There’s nothing to worry about” and the show went on; Mr. Meyrowitz went on to become an EVP of MacroMedia Inc.

Small things like being prepared and organized do matter, sometimes much more than we think. To all those giving a presentation today, tomorrow or next week – got the remote?

Dave Oshlag has been helping companies large and small stay organized and focus on the right projects for more than 25 years.  His specialty is saving hours of time wasted on disorganized systems without spending thousands of dollars. He’s best known for enabling massive changes in productivity with tools like W5 Templates that are simple, streamlined and get people organized quickly.

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