How to Use Your Computer in Presentations

Get 5 quick tips for eliminating technology mistakes and successfully using computers in presentations.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #129

When technology in meetings fail, some audience members think, “Another silly technology gaffe.” That’s your mother; she was in the audience. Your boss, co-workers, and freshman physics professor are thinking, “Tsk tsk tsk. Someone didn’t prepare.” Don’t let that someone be you!.

How to Use Your Computer in a Presentation

Even if you’re a great presenter, your computer isn’t. Rehearse your presentation step by step, and make sure the technology is working.

Before your presentation, shut down all the applications on your machine, including your virus checkers, firewalls, alarms, to-do lists, calendars, and anything else that might delight and surprise you with a helpful little message at exactly the wrong time.

Tip #1: Prepare Your Computer for the Presentation

Turn off your screen saver. Turn off auto-sleep. Turn off auto-hibernation. If you’re on a laptop with different settings when it’s plugged in versus when it’s running on battery, change the settings for whichever mode you’ll use during the presentation live. Even better, change the settings for both modes. 

Start up every application you’ll need before you start. Minimize them to the task bar or dock. When you need them, a single click gets you there. If you plan to visit websites, clear your browser history. That way, you won’t type a web address and have your browser take you to an unrelated site you visited with a similar name.

Tip #2: Have Websites Ready to Go

Even better, open every page you’ll use in a different tab, so you’re already up and running. Bookmarks are not enough; your audience doesn’t want to wait while the bookmark loads. Besides, you’ll accidentally bookmark the wrong page and end up with your audience wondering what your favorite Poodle grooming site has to do with your presentation.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.