Why it makes sense to have a presenter identity on your computer.

notificationWe’ve all seen it. A “new mail” notification pops up during a presentation. It’s distracting. And it can also be disastrous. Imagine if the title of the email was “our idiot boss” or “customers are stupid.” Your presentation or demo is going to take a negative turn, doncha think?

Here’s another one to think about. You’re at a customer site or a conference and you run to the washroom. While you’re gone, anyone can access your computer—because you always forget to lock it first, don’t you? They can get your confidential files or send an email message FROM YOU to your contacts.

It’s just dangerous and unprofessional to use your work setup for presentations.

Set up a presenter’s identity

The solution: set up another identity on your computer devoted to presentations.

Don’t set up email. Don’t set up twitter. Don’t set up any passwords. Don’t even have any of your bookmarks in the browser. Don’t put any personal files there. All you put in a presenter’s login is your presentations and the associated programs. (Some IT departments won’t allow you to do this but will often set it up for you.)

One technique I use is to create a shared folder that both my main identity as well as my presenter identity can access. That way, all my presentation files are accessible from either ID. Alternatively you could set up Google Drive or Dropbox on both identities to keep the presentations folder synchronized… but you have to remember to sync before you go offline.

You can also personalize the two identities differently. In my case, I have an ever-changing desktop pattern in my main identity but I use my Planning Canvas as my desktop for all presentations.

Turn off Mirroring

And of course, I do not have my two screens mirrored.

Mirroring means that what you have on your data projector is the same as what’s on your laptop screen. I can put my notes on the laptop screen and the slides on the big screen. And nobody can see me fumbling around when I’m setting up. In Windows, go to Control Panel, Display Properties, and choose the Settings tab. On the Mac, go to System Preferences, then Displays, and make sure “Mirror Displays” is unchecked. (See screen shots below).

Windows setup apple setup

presentations, tips & tricks

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Great idea – eliminates the need for a check list before you start. May I add one more? My pet peeve is when the distracting mouse pointer is right in the middle of your slide. If you don’t need it for a software demo, unplug the mouse.


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