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Equipment recommendation


Advice please from other trainers.
I want to show my own powerpoint presentations, including projection capability. While I understand a laptop is the obvious hardware item to use I don't really need its computing power since I have an adequate desktop pc in my office.
Have any other trainers found this situation and if so what would be your suggestions/recommendations for the appropriate hardware.
Vivien Davies

8 Responses

  1. Clarification needed


    From the information you have given, my first question is: Where are you planning to show your PowerPoint presentations?

    The basic equipment is a laptop and a projector and a screen. The laptop is there for mobility rather than computing power as the projector has to be connected to something which can run your presentation.
    So unless there will be a PC or laptop supplied wherever you plan to do the presentation, you will need to supply your own.
    Whether you supply the computer or someone else does I strongly recommend that you have at least one copy of your presentation on floppy disk or CD (remembering that whatever computer you use must also have a copy of the PowerPoint application).

    You might also need some kind of sound system, if you plan to include sound in your presentation – again if no such system is provided wherever you will be giving the presentation.

    Hope this is of use


  2. A recommendation
    There are a number of suppliers of projectors which directly render powerpoint presentations without the need for the software (and thus a laptop or PC). HP offer a projector (HP mp3130 Digital Projector series) but you may find cheaper alternatives in the market.

  3. Have a backup plan!
    From bitter experience in running Powerpoint presentations, the best advice I can give is to have a backup plan! What if you can’t plug in the laptop/projector etc.? What if the projector refuses to work? This can and does happen. If you are feeling a little nervous about your training session, the last thing you need is the extra stress of trying to work out how you are going to get your message across. I usually have copies of the presentation printed for each delegate (and a couple to spare!)
    Other than that I would echo the other comments, laptop or PC is your choice – just think about your back if you are going to have to carry it around to various sites.

    You can be really flash and have a wireless mouse (like TV weather forecasters have) so you can stand anywhere in the room and click on the presentation. Just be aware, these things run on batteries and use a lot of juice,so have spare sets of batteries just in case

  4. PowerPoint
    I would never trust the hosts to have a PC available for me as I have been let down too often. However If you do go down that road I would recommend that rather than saving your presentation to a floppy or CD (former too small, latter to inflexible) I would suggest you buy a pen drive. I have a 256k one I bought for £20.00 and larger ones are now coming down in price. I do not know if there are any projectors you can plug these directly to though.

  5. Need to fit the occasion
    The most important thing is to correctly match the PowerPoint to the occasion. At the lowest level you can save your presentation to flash memory and use the equipment where you are going. All modern computers have USB ports to plug into. At the highest level you can have quite complicated presentation equipment including projectors (suited to the size of the room), controls that use bluetooth to point and change slides and even touch screens or light sensitive screens. Using the web and searching on presentation equipment will bring up possible solutions.The most important thing is to match the presentation to the audience and environment.

  6. A Word of Warning!
    From bitter experience, be careful about transferring your PowerPoint file to a disk, CD or flash memory stick. You are possibly unlikely to know in advance what version of PowerPoint is available on the presentation PC and this could impact on some of your animations and builds. Additionally, you may be using fonts in your presentation which are not installed on the destination PC and in such a case, PowerPoint will attempt to find a font which is similar (but often not the same) as those you have used – and will result in a very strange appearance!
    The upshot is, as in all presentation situations, to avoid any element of risk and control the environment as much as you can. Personally, I’d rather lug my laptop around with me and know it’s going to work than have the stress of not knowing!

    Just one last thing to consider and one I’m not sure about but which could be explored; you can run PowerPoint presentations through a downloadable piece of software known as a PowerPoint viewer; it’s not the full PowerPoint software (similar to the Adobe Viewer) and that might avoid any of the unknowns about running your presentation through another PC loaded with PowerPoint.

    Hope that helps!

  7. PowerPoint tips

    You can save your fonts in your PowerPoint presentation so that there are no issues with the PC/Laptop you use. It makes the file a little bigger.

    Also you can save your file as a PowerPoint Show which saves the PPT Viewer software with the presentation. again it makes it a little bigger and you can then play on any PC – no matter what version the PC has or no Powerpoint at all.

    Be aware that you can’t alter the PowerPoint Show file, so only do this if there are no last minute changes to content.

    Epson projecters have memory cards that you can save your presentation to and then run from the projector. You need to have an external device to plug the memory card into and the relevant software on your PC. Then the memory card can be put into the projector. The projectors remote control gives you menu options for running your show. Again no last minute amendments cane be made.

  8. Take your own kit!
    I have had soooo many nightmares with using – or failing to use – other people’s projectors and laptops that I now use my own.

    That way I know the laptop and projector will work together!

    Go for lightweight and low spec for the laptop – a second hand one is fine. You don’t need a top of the line brand new laptop – just make sure it can run PowerPoint OK. A lightweight projector is also a must. I carry them round in a flight bag with wheels. Then all my training kit is in one bag – pens and all.

    My final insurance is to have a copy of the presentation on a CD and a few of the most vital slides as acetates – that way if the bulb goes on my projector I still have other options.

    This may sound like overkill but it does cut down on the hassle!


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