Whether you are delivering a pitch to potential customers or upper management, or you find yourself in front of a dozen students while lecturing in a Cisco course, there is a good chance that you’re using PowerPoint slides for your presentation. While your audience can normally observe the slide show on a large plasma TV or as a projected picture on a table or an empty wall, usually you’re the only one who is able to see your computer screen. Instead of displaying exactly the same content on your monitor as your audience sees, take advantage of having your own “private” screen, and display the relevant information you need as a speaker, rather than as a spectator.
What matters to you as a presenter? Certainly you’d like to know time information as well as what’s coming up on your next few slides; also very handy is the slide notes feature, which can work as a reminder — or sometimes even a lifesaver when your mind runs blank.
It’s time to take a look at what you need to do in order to enable Presenter view. First you have to make sure that your additional screen extends your desktop instead of just cloning it. To extend your screen, right-click on your desktop while the second display device is connected, and choose Properties. Under the Settings tab you should see two screens. Select the second one and select the “Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor.” checkbox. If your screens aren’t cloned anymore, you have accomplished the first step.
The second step needs to be done in PowerPoint. If you’re using version 2007, click on the Slide Show tab in the ribbon and select the checkbox “Use Presenter View.” Above that option, you can also specify on which screen the presentation should be displayed, so that the screens will be in the desired order. After that, simply start your presentation as you normally do.
If you’re using PowerPoint XP or 2003, click on Slide Show > Set Up Show and then select the “Show Presenter View” checkbox. If you’re using OpenOffice.org Impress, you can download the presenter screen extension to enable the functionality.
I only wish that Cisco would not have abandoned slides in new Instructor Kits by introducing secured PDF files. Having such a great tool for presentations becomes useless if your content is locked into a different format and can be viewed and presented only as a document.