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  1. #1
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    multiple talks at a seminar (Office 2000)

    OK, here's the deal, I've been asked by my boss's boss to "do the computers" for a three day seminar he is putting on later this year. My boss's boss is not computer literate. In fact, he is unfamiliar with the keyboard. These talks used to be given via 35 mm slides, but last year there was one holdout, the other 45 or so speakers used computer generated presentations. One presenter used HTML, one used a .mpg movie, the others all used PowerPoint to produce their talk.

    Last year was a nightmare of changing and booting laptops at the podium. This year he has asked the presenters to pre-submit talks electronically, to be given from one computer at the podium. In reality, most will bring their talk on a disk of some sort and hand it to me as they walk up to the podium. That is if they read the instructions at all and don't assume that they will run it from their own computer (with no drive installed. They're surgeons)

    So, here's my question: With what version of PowerPoint will I have the best chance of running presentations generated on 45 different systems of unknown OS and version of PowerPoint?

    What can I do to have the best chance of not having font conflict or other such problem crop up at the last minute?

    Any experienced persons out there with any sort of advice (other than to run for the hills or come down with a debilitating condition just before the seminar)?

  2. #2
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    Re: multiple talks at a seminar (Office 2000)

    The PowerPoint Viewer will take care of quite a few versions. See what you think!

    PowerPoint Viewer 97 - 2000 release
    egghead

  3. #3
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    Re: multiple talks at a seminar (Office 2000)

    My suggestion isn't a computer-based solution. I book events in our corporate auditorium and often am faced with similar issues. Upon booking, I send emails (plural) and follow up with phone calls asking that a "day or so in advance we meet at the auditorium for a 5 to 10-minute tech rehearsal, to make sure that we minimize any computer glitches." I tell 'em I don't need a finished PPT, but at least a draft to make sure that any photos or graphics display correctly on our A/V system, that fonts don't suddenly change and that any animated text comes in as it's supposed to (I mostly get animated bulleted items).

    I stress the small time commitment of 5-10 minutes, I stress that they'll feel less stressed if they don't have to worry about equipment problems. If they seem reluctant, I always ask them if their boss or boss's boss will be in the audience. If they flat-out refuse, I ask if someone else (assistant or co-worker) can come in for the rehearsal, or last-ditch, just send me a draft now so I can have a quick look. If I were in your shoes, I'd certainly let drop that (boss's boss) specifically wanted to avoid last year's snafus.

    As I'm often dealing with high-level executives, it's a matter of being polite but persistant. My approach is always "I'd like to make you look and sound as brilliant as you are." That generally appeals to their ego. I've worked on a project that involved MDs at a remote location, and know that it was hard to get co-operation. I wasn't above fibbing about the requirements -- Yes, the committee or the restaurant or the liability insurance insists that we test or we can't use personal (computer) equipment. Yes, that's dumb sir, but I'm afraid I simply don't have the clout to change these things. There is a procedure to exempt you, but it requires a written disclaimer signed by both you and boss's boss. Would you like me to get boss's boss to send the disclaimer to you?

  4. #4
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    Re: multiple talks at a seminar (Office 2000)

    Thanks, this is good stuff
    I've always included in the speaker invitation that the presentation that the file should be submitted in advance, giving an e-mail address and fed-ex address. I've set up a "speaker ready room" with a duplicate computer system wired to the podium computer so they (and I) can run them before they reach the podium while others are giving their pitch. I've still had people hand me the disk on the way to the stage or come in with their notebook with no drive, and make me do the computer switch mid program.

    Most of the presenters are not local, so I don't get a shot at them them day before. I've about given up on expecting them all do it my way. I was looking for the best chance of minimizing problems with the un-cooperative ones through technology. I'll use your "making sure you look good" approach tho. that might help.

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