Preparing for presentations: Learn from mistakes

Screenshot from 2014-12-15 13:11:29 Navigation Pane un-activated

Screenshot from 2014-12-15 13:12:02Navigation pane activated

A recent presentation I gave to the top brass at a state government body left me personally embarrassed because although the Secretariat had earlier tested my slideshow file as functioning well when they inserted it in the notebook to be used for presentations, during the actual presentation, the slideshow suddenly crashed during the middle of the show and I was only given a very limited time to present my case. The Technical officer was bewildered, came over and managed to restarted the slideshow but on a second and third re-run, it still crashed halfway. Time passed by so quickly and eventually I was asked to elaborate my presentation base on memory which was not good because I don’t have a good memory. To make matters worse, the Chairman and Secretariat also did not get a hardcopy of my presentation so they were eager to see my presentation but to no avail. Eventually, discussion proceeded on a verbal basis and ended quickly. later, discussions with an IT personnel came up with these following recommendation:

  1. Always start to present a slideshow in pdf format but change to .ppt or .odp format unless the Meeting request for it. This is because the .pdf format is more stable than a .ppt or .odp file and is more compatible to any computer operating system be it Windows, Mackinstosh or Linux. Organisation charts and links are permanently locked under the .pdf format but will likely run wild if the .ppt file was running under a Linux operating system and vice versa with an .odp file running under a Windows operating system.
  2. Make at least 3 hard copies of the slideshow, one for the Chairman, another for the Secretariat and the last for yourself. This is because anything can happen and there must always be PLAN B and discussion may ended with that hardcopy and it is wiser that all have the same version.
  3. Keep a copy of the orginal .ppt, .odp and even .pdf file in a thumbdrive even if the Secretariat said the file emailed to them is A-OK!

In the .pdf presentation, turn off or deactivate the Navigation Panel tool to optimize the full size of the screen. This is usually as in the Acrobat Reader application, under Menu bar/View/Navigation Panels/Show Navigation Panel.

It was a bitter experience but here I share it with you so you won’t be like me should it happened to you.

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