Technology has made a big difference in the lives of the VSA and speaker clients. The speaker can work on the road with hardware such as a laptop computer, tablet and a smart phone, digital camera with video, and a digital audio recorder. Some speakers also use a business card scanner on the road or in the office.
There are many types of software that are designed to aid the busy speaker, including contact management software, calendaring software and business management software to keep the books and to sell products on the website (eCommerce).
In addition, there is technology used at events, such as computer multi-media projection devices (computer projectors) and sound projection devices (microphones).
There is other technology used to make the most of the audio and video from the event after the fact.
The VSA’s Role in the Process
1. To understand the language of technology and how technology can benefit speaker clients.
2. To make sure the speaker’s technology requirements are met at events for the most effective presentation.
3. To keep abreast of any new technology and bring it to the speaker’s attention.
Keep in mind that just because a group has asked the speaker to make a presentation, doesn’t mean they will magically have everything the speaker needs for the presentation. Sometimes this is related to the event’s budget and sometimes it is related to the communication between the speaker and the meeting planner (and the VSA). You can use the Event Technology Preference form to find out what the speaker would like to use and then you can check with the meeting planner on availability.
Just mentioning that the speaker is planning on using a PowerPoint presentation may result in disaster if you assume the organization will provide the equipment, but your contact believes the speaker will. Be sure to ask for what you want. If the speaker uses a flip chart and markers, request them. If the speaker is going to use PowerPoint, ask for a computer projector. If the speaker prefers not to bring his or her own laptop to hook up to the projector, inquire whether a laptop can be provided. And find out the best way you can get the PowerPoint loaded on it: disk, jump drive, or an advance email.
Many speakers are particular about the mics they use. Some insist on using handheld mics (wired), others insist on laveliers (hands free).
Hand held mics are usually on a stand so they can be used hands free if the speaker is standing in front of the mic.
Podium mics are mounted on the podium and can be adjusted, but usually not moved away from the podium.
Lavelier mics are attached to the lapel and any wires are hidden under clothing. They allow the speaker to leave the stage and still be heard through the mic.
To show a PowerPoint presentation from a computer, the speaker needs a computer projector. These are often rented from the hotel (and are very expensive to rent for the day). The event will usually rent these for the full days of the event so they can be used by all speakers. The original brand of projector was a Proxima so you may hear someone ask if your speaker needs a Proxima rather than asking about a projector.
But if the speaker is training or running his or her own seminars, he or she may need to own a computer projector. These can range anywhere from $299 and up. They also require a separate VGA cable (that doesn’t come with most projectors) to make the connection between the computer and the projector.
Regardless of whether the speaker brings his or her own equipment or uses equipment on site, the speaker absolutely has to get to the presentation early or before the day begins to check all the equipment, to make sure he or she knows how everything works and that the presentation is there. The speaker should always carry extra bulbs for projectors.
Remote Controllers (Wireless Presenters)
So the speaker can stay on the move and focus on speaking and not on the visuals, many speakers have wireless remote controllers, called presenters or wireless laser presenters for their projectors (like the Kensington 33374 – about $50), that allow the speaker to change to a new PowerPoint slide even if he or she is across the stage.
Most of these presenters have a laser pointer that will allow the speaker to highlight some words or a visual in the presentation. The variables in these presenters are battery life and range. The speaker should always carry extra batteries for wireless presenters.
We cover various types of software in other places in this course.
See section 4-4 in this course.
See section 3-6 in this course.