One of the most well-known rules of public speaking is to know the details about where you are going to present, before your present. How big is the room? How are the chairs and desks arranged? What version of PowerPoint is available? Is PowerPoint available at all?
This is all well and good when you have the opportunity to access your venue (or access information about your venue) ahead of time. But what can you do when you don’t/can’t learn about where you are going to present?
For various reasons that I won’t bore you with here, in my line of work, I don’t always have access to the details about where I will teach or present. On a recent assignment, all I knew was that the room would be small and I may or may not have access to a projector.
I had an effective PowerPoint presentation ready to go, and since it was integrated with my handouts, I really wasn’t looking forward to having to do my seminar without slides. Enter “PaperPoint.”
Taking advantage of the only solid information that I had (small room and a magnetic whiteboard), I simply printed out my presentation—one full-color slide per A4 sheet of paper. I then rehearsed the presentation, making some minor adjustments to ensure that it still synched with my handouts. I also made sure to check how many magnets I would need to display the necessary amount of “slides” simultaneously. Ultimately, I was prepared to give the presentation whether or not the room had a projector.
As it turned out, the venue for the seminar didn’t have a projector. Everything went smoothly, however, and after a while, I didn’t even miss having one. So now, thanks to “PaperPoint” I have another little trick in my toolbox. And, hopefully after reading this, you do too!