Posted by: Amy Chandler | February 1, 2008

Worst case scenario: Making a presentation anywhere

I think that this is the most important (and memorable) lesson I learned in advertising class.

Whether you’re a PC or Mac user, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a sort of computer myopia. There are fewer compatibility issues these days, but it’s still necessary to be conscientious when working between one system and the other.

This is particularly important when making client presentations. A PowerPoint presentation that won’t work isn’t the best way to impress someone, especially a client.

Last semester, an advertising instructor of mine wanted to make sure that we would always be prepared for these issues. For our class, each of our small groups had created a campaign to promote water conservation. We had plenty of access to a great lab full of Macs. However, for the final presentation, we moved to the conference room next door.

No one thought much of this until we saw the room the day of our final presentations. Gasp…we would be running our presentations off of a PC!

Our instructor promised that he was more interested in teaching us a lesson than punishing everyone, which was a relief. It was definitely more effective to throw us in there than give us a handout of useful tips!

I can’t convey the experience on-line, but I can share the tips of the most important lesson I learned in advertising class.

  • Have the file available on every medium possible: e-mail attachment, slideshare, flash drive and even CD-ROM. If the presentation computer can’t connect to the Internet or doesn’t have a USB port, there could be trouble.
  • Make sure that the file can be accessed through more than one program. If the only file available must be read by PowerPoint, it won’t be read at all without PowerPoint. As tedious as it is, one backup plan includes saving each slide individually as a jpeg file and then ordering the slides within a folder so that they can be displayed using a computer’s image viewer.
  • And in case all of these precautions can’t save you from the worst-case presentation scenario, have some sort of hard copy available for your client.

Honestly, the thought of preparing so much for an unlikely situation is really frustrating. But I’d rather be frustrated than embarrassed.



  1. Great lesson from your instructor. I once had a campaigns team whose PPT didn’t work in the client presentation, and they had no back-up. I don’t know who was more humiliated, them or me! But I know it’ll never happen to one of my teams again. 😦

  2. That’s such a difficult thing to deal with, especially after so much hard work! I’m sure those students have saved everything at least 5 ways since.

  3. This is a very good lesson and your list a good habit to get into. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to fall back on Plan B, C and even D!

  4. I’ll definitely share your experience and tips with my students at Georgia Southern. You’ve suggested backup plans that I’d not thought of before (such as saving slides individually as JPGs). Thanks!

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