Day of Details
The day of your presentation has finally arrived. Now to think about some logistics: what do you need to have with you? This will be somewhat influenced by what you have learned about the venue, but there are some things you should have with you as a matter of habit. I have what I call my “Presentation Toolkit” and pack it with me, no matter if I am driving or flying to the presentation venue.
The first category we will call “Equipment”. Some of the things you want to bring are:
- Your computer (or your presentation on a thumb drive if they have asked you to use their computer).
- Portable projector (if there is any possibility, they may not have one).
- Portable flip chart with whiteboard (even if you have asked for one unless you are flying).
- Pens of all descriptions and colors (permanent, dry erase, etc.). There is nothing worse than having to write with a pen that is used up and doesn’t write well.
- Your own slide presenter remote (you are comfortable with it).
The second category we will call “Materials”:
Depending on the situation, you might be giving handouts. If you are, there are some decisions to be made. The first one is who is printing them. If you ask them to print them (or they offer to do it), you need to give explicit instructions about how they should be printed. Front to back? Colour or black and white? Stapled together or not? In a binder or not?
If you are printing them yourself, the upside is that you will have them made exactly the way you want them (color, stapled, two-sided, etc). The downside is you have to carry them (and likely pay for them).
Once you arrive you also need to let your host know how you want to handle the handouts. Do you want them all given out at the beginning? Do you want to hand them out one-by-one as you go through your presentation? If yes, who will do this? Can someone help you? Should the handouts only be given at the end? One lesson I have learned over the years is that handouts distract people from listening to you, so my preference is to give handouts as I go through my presentation. I only give the handout when it is relevant. This usually means I have to have help distributing them, but this is not usually an issue.
You might also have a prop, something you are going to show or demonstrate during your presentation. If this is the case, you need to either have it with you or send it ahead (depending on the size, weight, etc.). If you send it ahead, allow plenty of time and be sure to send it to a specific person so you can check with that person to make sure it has arrived. There is nothing worse than preparing a presentation that is built around the demonstration of a piece of equipment and not having that piece of equipment when you need it.
Other materials you may want to have with you are related to marketing yourself and your business (if appropriate), business cards, brochures, books, etc. We’ve prepared a handy "day of" details checklist to help you keep track of all of this.