It’s showtime!

To help my finances while the Present.Me company inches towards profitability I have recently gone back on the road as a jobbing slide monkey for various corporate clients.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Monaco with the UK Athletics bid for the 2017 World Athletic Championships. After 2 years of preparation, site visits and schmoozing the final presentations by the London and Doha bid teams were to be made to the International Association of Athletics Federations council members.

We had two days to rehearse the speeches and check slides and with so much riding on the outcome, you can imagine stress levels were pretty high. Strangely with all this preparation, when it came down to the actual presentation, I only had around 3 minutes to set up my show laptop and backup machine in the main conference room while the delegation took their places and the council waited.

As I waited outside the room, I had closed the lid of my laptop with the PowerPoint deck open. Once in the room and set up, I pressed F5 to go into show mode and then 57+ enter to where i knew the first embedded video was in the presentation. Checking through headphones there was audio or video! I quickly realised that the technician had plugged in the VGA cable after i had entered full screen mode and for some reason the graphics card was not displaying the video. Pressing esc and then back into show mode fixed the problem. A quick thumbs up to the head of the delegation and the presentation began.

Once back in the office I had a chat with Spencer about other things to watch out for in those few minutes just as the audience files in, the doors are shut, the lights dim and the compere walks to the lectern

Always prepared, he showed me this handy laminated list he had in his show bag.

screen saver is off
all power save features are off
bluetooth / wireless off
all unnecessary background apps off
anti-virus update off
power supplies – check working & plugged in
Check cue lights
Check bios sleep mode
volume level appropriate
number slides from 1
check all mpegs run to the end
take slide numbers off
check in slide sorter for ‘illegal’ auto slide transistions
turn off ‘auto save’

And one final tip from a seasoned show warrior is to set the power scheme to dim the screen after 1 minute when on battery. It happened once that someone had pulled the mains lead out without anyone noticing. Everything went fine all through rehearsals and pre show checks until actual showtime when the juice finally ran out and the computer shut down. “Switch to backup!”

In the end everything went well in Monaco with a rousing and passionate closing speech from Seb Coe that for me, clinched it, and London won the bid. (I’d like to think the slides did have something to do with it)

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