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Antony Eikeland discusses why several screens are better than one!!!

Cue cards! Two words that make any audience sit back relax, fold their arms and prepare themselves for forty winks and a chance to catch up on any sleep they've missed out over the past days.

But as a presenter you don't always have the time to learn every line of your presentation, and some presentations are simply too large to even contemplate the thought. So in an effort to keep your audiences eyes open, is it a question of creating content that you can easily remember and annotate, or is it better to utilize techniques to communicate and deliver it?




Presentation Article and Advice about Communicating Your Message

Why several screens are better than one!!!

Antony Eikeland, Communication Consultant, 123PPT.com

Can I have your attention please

When you stand before your eager audience have you ever wondered, "What am I doing here? Why are these people listening to me? What do I know that is so important that people will sit and listen to every word I have to say?"

The truth is you'll never know, and neither will they, if you are not able to communicate to them. Communication is a term much like Weapons of Mass Destruction. You never heard of it, and then suddenly, you never hear anything else.

Everyone is always talking about the importance of communication, but why? Why now? Has communication suddenly become more important than the actual message of your presentation?

Well, in a way, it is easy to argue that it is. There's no point having the greatest online store, if no one knows it exists. And there's no point having an important and thought-provoking message if no one stays awake to hear it!


Death by cue card

Ah... enter our old friend the cue card, a tried and trusted method of delivering a speech. But sadly the greatest achievement of a cue card has been to illustrate speech disorders or stutter patterns in their presenters, as they try to remember what the carefully written headlines are to jog in their memory. And in between these intermittent bursts of recollection, a speech is born, stretched beyond any continuous form, starved of any natural speaking rhythms, and guilty of mass audience murder.

To the undeterred presenter, oblivious that half the audience died in fact over half an hour ago, they are unaware of the fact that with each continuous glance to the cards that are held in their palm, like some form of poker game where only they know who has the winning hand, their audiences attention dies that little bit more.


Double vision

So how can a presenter keep their audience alert and focused on their presentation whilst at the same time keeping their focus on their notes in order to communicate, clearly and concisely the thoughts and messages of the piece?

Simple, by projecting, or showing your presentation on one screen to your audience, whilst you follow your notes and control your presentation from another screen.

No cue cards, no memory tests, not even a need for another computer. Just normal speech and descriptive flow, as you follow your notes effortlessly whilst your audience follow your presentation.

In a world that sees tomorrows technology not only delivered yesterday, but outdated already by the beginning of last week, you may be surprised to hear that you have already the solution close at hand.

Dual Monitors, Dual Displays, Multi-Monitors, are all terms and expressions for hardware that enable you to display the output from your computer across more than one screen.


Confused? Let me explain...

How nice, but hang on a minute. If I run my presentation on one screen, won't my audience also see my notes? I mean after all dual display simply means displaying the same screen on a number of monitors or screens doesn't it?

Well no one would shoot you for thinking so. But you would on this occasion happily be wrong!!! Dual display is the ability for a computer to split its desktop across any number of given screens. Ever wondered how a video wall works? One screen playing across many different screens, built into a wall to give that ominous effect. The same principle is used in dual display, only you can decide on which monitor you wish to show which part of your desktop.

Interesting?.


Simplicity

The three main criteria that you need to satisfy are:
  1. Graphics card with Dual Monitors, Dual Displays, Multi-Monitor support
  2. Microsoft Windows Operating System
  3. Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 or greater.
If your laptop or portable computer has an S-Video out connection then you have already most likely solved the first requirement. And if you're laptop was built anywhere in this millennium and runs Microsoft Office, then you have also answered points two and three!

If your not using a laptop, don't despair, the definition of dual monitors can mean many things. Either having two graphic cards in your machine. Or having a single dual display graphics card, such as one of ATI's popular, and more importantly, cheap, range of Radeon cards.

Believe it or not even poor old Windows 98 is able to support up to nine monitors from one display, the possibilities for several screens running a presentation on one screen, video, on another, key points and key messages on another, imagine the impact? Real multimedia, real audience impression, one computer with your presentation on playing and controlling it all, and from PowerPoint!

But let us keep to the task in hand. What I need to do is play our presentation on a projector, for example, whilst my presentation notes run off the laptop or workstation monitor in front of me so that I can narrate the presentation comfortably.


Simple steps to success

So, with my projector, or other screen attached I:
  1. Open the presentation in PowerPoint that I wish to show on one of the monitors, screens, or projectors, connected to my computer.
  2. Select "Set Up Show..." from the Slide Show main menu option.
  3. The Set Up Show dialog box appears.
  4. With my projector attached I click the Projector Wizard button.
  5. In the pull down menu option under "Show on:" I can then select which monitor, screen, or projector I wish to display my presentation on.
  6. If I then go to "View" in the main menu, and select "Notes Master", I can then select "Set Up Show..." again from the Slide Show main menu option.
  7. This time I select which monitor, screen, or projector I wish to display my presentation notes on.
And voila, my presentation is now running on one screen, and my presentation notes will now appear on the other.


Tell it like it is not how you remember

There's no excuse for placing your audience in a coma, or boring them to death with cue cards. If you are a under tight deadline to produce your presentation, and have little time to rehearse, your presentation notes are the best way to communicate your presentation clearly and naturally.

If your presentation is lengthy, and hopes of memorizing its content in a fluid and flowing fashion are uncertain, again, running your presentation on one screen whilst reading your notes from a monitor in front of you is a far superior way to communicate with your audience than through cue cards.

Everyday we see the news on our television screens. The newsreader does precisely that, reads from an auto cue in front of them to give the illusion of natural speech. Imagine if the newsreader read from a cue card...scary thought isn't it? How much of the news would you actually remember? After thirty minutes of news, you would probably be asleep or have switched over. Now imagine your audience at your next presentation.

A dual display presentation is a cheap and cost effective solution for every presenter. Almost every portable laptop computer can do this now at no additional cost. And any workstation can be upgraded for under $100. And whilst other speakers will undoubtedly still rely on their cue cards, as their audience drift silently off to sleep. You have the chance to keep their attention, maintain their focus, and communicate your messages for little or no investment at all.

To win the war against sleeping and dying audiences, you don't need weapons of mass destruction. You only need to communicate what you already know. So put away those cue cards, bring out your dual display, and take your audience hostage!
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