Equipment to carry when presenting; Issue #230 March 1, 2011

PowerPoint Tip: Equipment to carry when presenting

I was speaking at the CSAE Trillium Chapter Winter Summit last Friday.  I brought a lot of cables and equipment because I was doing a live demonstration of how you can create a video for your web site using visuals you create in PowerPoint.  I normally don’t carry that amount of gear with me, but I do carry more than just my laptop and remote.  In today’s article I want to talk about three pieces of equipment that help me present successfully when travelling.

I carry a 12 foot VGA extension cable in the bottom of my laptop bag.  Why?  Because it allows me to place my laptop where I can see it and work with it regardless of how the AV staff have set up the projector connection.  Typically the connection for the projector is taped down to the lectern.  I don’t speak behind a lectern because it creates a physical barrier between the audience and the presenter.  Instead, I use my extension cord to move the connection to a nearby table or chair.  This also allows me to access my laptop in case I am doing a live demonstration or hyperlinking from a slide to external content.

Another key piece of equipment in my laptop bag is a small hamburger speaker.  When I want to use a video or audio clip, the laptop speakers are inadequate because they are not loud enough and they are aimed towards me, not the audience.  I don’t want to haul a large set of speakers with me, and this is the smallest speaker I could find that fills a room.  I’ve used it successfully in rooms with 50-75 people.  It is powered from a USB port, so there are no power cords to carry.  It plugs in to the headphone jack on the laptop, and it can also be used to play music from an MP3 player if you want to.  If you’ve never seen this type of speaker before, here is a link to the one that iHome makes:, which is available at many retailers.

Last year I changed the portable wireless mouse I carry when I travel.  I am now using the Microsoft Arc Mouse.  Why did I make the switch?  A number of reasons.  First, it is the smallest and lightest portable mouse that I can use comfortably (those tiny ones hurt my hand after a short time).  It stores even smaller because it flips closed, which is great when you are trying to fit everything in a laptop bag.  That flipping closed also turns off the mouse, saving the battery when I am not using it.  The USB dongle for the computer magnetically sticks to the bottom of the mouse and is protected when the mouse is flipped close.  And being wireless, I can use it as a remote if I need to in case my remote dies during a presentation.  You should be able to buy this mouse at most computer or electronic retailers.

Those are three key pieces of equipment that I carry to help my presentations be successful.  If you have other key pieces of equipment that help you present when travelling, feel free to add them in a comment on my blog at