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An Architect's View

Breeze Presenter Tips

February 24, 2006 ·

As part of the preparation for CFUNITED 2006, Michael Smith is planning to run a series of "CFLive" events (like last year) where speakers give a short overview of their conference presentations, as a teaser to encourage more attendees and to help folks decide which talks to go to. I responded to the speakers' mailing list with some tips for using Breeze effectively and figured that it would be good to share them more broadly in a somewhat more generic form. Tip #1: Use a dual monitor setup - put the Breeze meeting up on the second screen with preview mode enabled so you can see what your audience sees (and the chat pod!) and share your primary screen. This allows you to watch the chat so you know instantly if your audience are having problems and you can also take questions during your presentation. Tip #2: Make sure you run through the audio configuration wizard in Breeze with the exact audio setup you plan to use in advance of the meeting. This will figure out the background silence levels and the sensitivity of your microphone. Go to Meeting > Audio Setup Wizard... once you're in Breeze. Keep your head/mouth at a consistent distance from microphone during the configuration and during your talk! Some folks have a tendency to rock back and forth in their chairs while they present - this creates a bad audio experience for your listeners as you move closer and further from the mic! Update: Dave Watts suggested using a headset microphone and recommended USB headsets from Logitech and Plantronics. Also make sure you have a quiet, private environment to broadcast from (cube farms are not a good environment for this, nor are most homes with kids and pets running loose!). Tip #3: Create an effective presentation slide deck. Well, duh! This isn't just about Breeze but it's worth repeating anyway. Most presenters speak for 1-2 minutes per slide so bear that in mind when you're creating a presentation. If you have more than about 35 slides, you probably won't get through them all in a 50 minute presentation and you won't leave any time for Q&A! Think about the structure. Most (effective) presentations typically have this sort of structure:
  • Title slide (presentation title, your name, company, maybe email address).
  • Goals of the talk - "what is this talk about?" - tell your audience why they are here and what they will (hopefully) learn
  • Introduce yourself - "who am I and why should I be talking about this topic?" - establish your credentials but don't brag!
  • Agenda - explain the structure of the talk - it's often a good idea to drop the agenda slide in between each major section of the talk so the audience know where they are and highlight the relevant part of the agenda slide each time.
  • The meat of your talk... blah, blah, blah!
  • Summary slide(s) - recap your main points and remind your audience of what they (should have) learned during the talk and this should probably mirror the earlier goals slide.
  • Resources slide(s) - pull together all the books / links that your talk references and list them here so your audience can find them easily in the handouts or online later.
  • Repeat title slide with full contact information - this is often easier with a regular slide layout than the graphical "title" layout used for the first slide.
I hope that is useful. Feel free to share your presenting tips in comments - or offer up things not to do when presenting!

Tags: connect · personal · saas

5 responses

  • 1 Peter J. Farrell // Feb 24, 2006 at 8:50 PM

    Regarding #2, I totally agree with Dave Watts about using a headset with boom microphone. Definitely go with USB version over the two 1/4 mini plugs. The USB versions make easy configuration and setup.

    In anticipation of the ColdFusion Weekly podcast I'm doing with Matt Woodward, I have been experimenting with microphones since one of us will have to "skype" in for the recording. Minneapolis and Dallas don't make for easy logistics. I highly recommend the Logitech Premium 350 USB Headset - current about $35 (buy.com had the cheapeast when I bought it last week). It's solidly built and comes with a noise-cancelling microphone (which actually works). Configuration was plugin and go (no CD or drivers needed).

    Whether it be musical instruments to presentations, my personal #4 tip is practice. At the risk of sound cliche, the old saying of "practice makes perfect" is true of a lot of things.
  • 2 Jeff Houser // Feb 25, 2006 at 7:00 AM

    Peter,
    I think you tripped over your words, so for clarification...

    I have never heard the term "boom microphone" before.
    'Boom' usually refers to a stand w/ an arm on it that can swivel / tilt / turn / etc.. so you can achieve granual mic placement.

    I assume you mean that the mic on the headset is able to be positioned?
  • 3 Peter J. Farrell // Feb 25, 2006 at 9:24 AM

    Well, I tried to comment but Sean's blog didn't like my link (I tried to mess it up a bit so it would show). I lost my entire comment. So I'll try again.

    Yeah, Jeff my description was less than perfect. The microphone on the headset I speak of is mounted on a "boom" (more of less horizontal in relation)that is attached to the one of the earpieces on the headset. You can then move the mic up and down as well as the change the placement between it and your mouth (cheek).

    I worked in a studio for while when I was younger. I guess my ideas (or my mind) think of a computer mic on a desk as a mic in a stand. Here's a visual of a studio stand with a boom at musiciansfriend[dot]com/product/Live/Sound/Parts/Accessories?sku=450828
    I know you do recording Jeff -- so that "link" is for others.

    I did look up the term "boom" in Webster's for my sanity. A boom is "a long more or less horizontal supporting arm or brace (as for holding a microphone or for supporting an antenna)." So I guess you could say that the Logitech headset I speak of fits that definition ok. Anyways, my arguments/semantics are silly and doesn't mean this comment holds a pinch of salt so to say. :-)
  • 4 jim collins // Feb 25, 2006 at 6:48 PM

    This is great Sean! Im planning on giving a Breeze presentation at MDCFUG on 4/11 (on advanced XML processing) so this is very useful.
    jim - cfsynergy.com
  • 5 Bob Flynn // Jul 29, 2006 at 8:31 PM

    If you are going to be switching between slides and sharing your desktop I recommend creating two different sharing layouts in your Breeze room and toggling between them. This way when you switch back to your slide sharing layout it will return you to the slide you were on rather than having to start the slideshow over again and find the place you left off.

    NOTE: You have to be in the room as admin rather than as presenter to toggle between layouts.