Let the Show Begin

by Denn Guptill

And now it's Sunday morning, you've designed your presentation making sure that you have a consistent look throughout, your fonts are the right size and you've checked your spelling and grammar. So now you are ready to run your show, right? Wrong. Stop and rewind. If Sunday morning is the first time you have gone through your entire presentation then you can almost rest assured that Mr. Murphy will be your co-presenter and whatever can go wrong will go wrong.

Once you have finished preparing your presentation you need to run through it to make sure that you have everything you are supposed to have, and that it's all in the right place and is doing what it is supposed to be doing. It's only when you have run the presentation sequentially from the very beginning to the very end will you know that all the animations and slide transitions are behaving properly. Make sure that you are following along with an order of service so you can be sure the various elements and segues are where they are supposed to be.

Unless you prepare your presentation using the digital projector in the actual environment where your service is held, it's a good idea to run through your slide show under similar circumstances before the appointed time. The time to discover that you can't read your text because the sun is hitting the screen is 10:30 Saturday morning, not 10:30 Sunday morning. I've changed the font colors on thirty-five sermon slides forty-five minutes before the service began and it's no fun.

Familiarize yourself with your equipment before you actually need it. Make sure everything is working, meaning the projector is projecting and the computer is computing. There have been one hundred and sixty-seven hours since the benediction at the close of last Sunday's service and almost as many opportunities for things to have gone wrong with your equipment. Don't ask me how settings can be changed on a machine that hasn't been turned on all week, but we all know that it happens. You will want to make neat discoveries (like someone borrowed the power cord from the computer) early enough to find a solution before the service begins.

If you are using a laptop, make sure your computer is plugged into the power cord and the power cord is plugged into power. There is a certain feeling of helplessness that occurs when the low battery warning appears on the screen half way through your second song.

If you are using a different computer to run your presentation than you used for your preparation it's wise to check which version of PowerPoint your presentation machine is using. PowerPoint is pretty much backward compatible from POWERPOINT 2003 to 95 but not everything designed in 2003 will work in earlier versions. Hate to keep mentioning it, but the best time to make those exciting discoveries isn't in the middle of your sermon.

Even though you will be able to open and run a show that you prepared in PowerPoint 2003 on a machine running earlier releases, that really cool MP3 file you used will remain silent, some transparent fills will turn to solid colors and your animated gifs will be less than animated.

PowerPoint 2003 also has many more custom animations than its predecessors, as well as more choices in how those animations will behave. And the new animations are not backward compatible. Here's some disappointing news as well; if you use the pack and go function along with PowerPoint presenter, your show will not have access to the new features from PowerPoint 2003.

If God's promise to Abraham were made today, instead of promising Abraham’s descendants that would outnumber the sands on the beach or stars in the sky, he would have been promised more descendants then there are fonts.

It's not unusual for most computers to have several hundred fonts stored on their hard drive, but nobody has the same several hundred. Even though the main body of your presentation should contain simple easy to read fonts you may have opted for special fonts to match the theme of your message. By running through the show on the presentation machine you will assure that the X-files font you hunted so long for will actually show up during your presentation.

Don't assume that all of your fonts will work. Because you know what happens when you assume? Sometimes you're wrong. If you are not using the same computer for preparation and presentation, then you need to embed your fonts. (In the "Save As" menu, click on "Tools", "Save Options", and select "Embed TrueType Fonts".)

Type “A” personalities have a tough time relinquishing control of anything... even their PowerPoint Presentations. If you fall into that category and you are using a remote mouse, be sure to check your batteries. It's amazing how often your remote can be left on following last Sunday's service. We've discovered that the easiest way to win the battery game is to purchase two sets of rechargeable batteries and keep the recharged set close by. Before the service is also a good time to establish your line of sight to the receiver for the remote. Even though very few other experiences capture the mystique of watching someone repeatedly pressing a mouse key while wandering around the platform, I'm sure your people will discover something equally as titillating to take its place... even if it's the old standby of finding mistakes in the bulletin.

Inevitably, circumstances arise where your computer operator needs to assume control of the presentation. There are a number of shortcuts available via the keyboard which can be used without exiting the slide show.

Keyboard Shortcuts For Actions During Slideshow

Next slide or animation N, Enter, Page Down, Right Arrow, Down Arrow or Space bar
Previous slide or animation P, Page Up, Left Arrow, Up Arrow or Backspace
Go to a specific Slide Slide number + Enter
Display black screen or return to slideshow from black screen B or Period
Display white screen or return to slideshow from white screen W or Comma
End a slide show Esc, Ctrl+Break, or hyphen
Erase screen annotations E
Go To Hidden Slide H
Set new timings while rehearsing T
Use original timings while rehearsing O
Return to first slide 1 + Enter
Change pointer to a pen Ctrl + P
Change pointer to an arrow Ctrl + A
Hide pointer (immediately) Ctrl + H
Hide Point in 15 seconds Ctrl + U
Display shortcut menu Shift + F10 (or right click mouse)
Next hyperlink on slide Tab
Previous hyperlink Shift + Tab
Execute Hyperlink Enter (while hyperlink is selected)
Execute mouse-over behavior of selected hyperlink Shift + Enter (while hyperlink is selected)
Help during slide show F1

Remember that you can't practice too much. The more familiar you are with your presentation, the less likely you will have to be thinking about it when you should be thinking about your message. If you are paying too much attention to your slide show, you will distract your listeners from your spoken word. The presentation is meant to reinforce your message, not undermine it.


Questions To Ask Before The Show Begins:

  1. Have you rehearsed your presentation?

  2. Have you checked the presentation computer and projector?

  3. Have you confirmed that your fonts are present on the presentation machine?

  4. Are the batteries charged for your remote mouse?

  5. Have you rehearsed your presentation again?


Copyright Denn Guptill / PowerPoint4Preaching.com