Tag Archives: projector

Powerpoint Potentate! Presentation Priestess!

Powerpoint: a Microsoft presentation program that allows public speakers to put their audience to sleep within five minutes

Potentate: one who wields great power or sway

All sorts of Powerpoint horror stories circulate in the public speaking realm. [Here’s a funny PPT presentation spoofing bad PPT presentations (is that laughter canned??? it’s not THAT funny).] I’ve seen many poor presentations myself.

But certain topics really can’t be done well without illustration – especially when the subject is something visual: art, architecture, design, travel, to name a few. You can use Powerpoint to organize your “slide show”, which is what I did last night to talk about feng shui.

Pictures are worth a thousand words when you’re describing befores and afters, the five elements, yin and yang, color, the bagua map.  The challenge is not bullet-pointitis, but locating the right pictures to project, building a narrative around them. And for me it was figuring out how to talk to the audience instead of the screen while managing the remote control and laser pointer.

Thank god my son was home for the week. I don’t watch TV and have never learned how to manage a remote control (though many women who DO watch TV can’t manage the remote either.

I feel like my skill as a public speaker has just taken a big leap with this new tool. I promise not to overuse it. Which shouldn’t be too hard because it’s still a pain in the butt to haul a laptop, projector and screen.

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Procrastination #2: the Powerpoint Presentation

Procrastination: putting off intentionally something that should be done,
from the Latin, pro (forward) and crastinus (of tomorrow)

I am giving a talk tonight at Toastmasters, a dry run if you will, of a much longer presentation on feng shui I’m doing next week.  I can talk on this topic, no problem. I know my stuff.

So why oh why have I put off preparations until just last night (not that I’ve not been thinking about it, obsessing, even)?  It’s because I’ll be working with my new projector and Powerpoint for the first time.

I am actually an accomplished geek so I’ve been surprised at my reluctance to put this presentation together.  I figured out the PPt stuff easily – made a bunch of attractive simple slides last night.

What has held me back is fear of new territory – simultaneous talking and technology.  I’m one of those people who has to turn off the car radio when navigating unfamiliar roads – I may even be someone who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.  But since I don’t chew gum, I haven’t tested this possibility.

I am writing this post when I should be loading the presentation onto my laptop, hooking up the projector and seeing what happens….  structured procrastination, as Ken Perry would say.

Pontificating for a projector

I bought myself a projector last week in order to more effectively give talks that benefit from illustration – most specifically, about feng shui.

My family gave me a hard time about this expenditure but I told them (not sure if I was just blowing smoke out my butt) that it would pay for itself in new business in no time!

Tonight I earned half the cost by giving a feng shui talk at a local home furnishings shop. 34 folks showed up at $10 each (twice what I expected). That’s $340! and at least two of them want home consultations which should pretty much cover the rest of the cost of the projector.

I didn’t USE the projector because I don’t yet have my pictures assembled for an illustrated feng shui talk. Instead I blathered on for an hour, which most folks seem to enjoy. They especially like stories of people whose homes are in worse shape than theirs. Especially homes with a clutter problem.

Like my client who complained of being stressed. When I came to her house, she could not sit down to talk to me because she was so busy watering her potted plants – of which she had HUNDREDS – dozens in every room. And she wasn’t even a collector. Whenever a plant got too crowded in its pot she divided it – but couldn’t bear to throw away the subdivisions. She was like a cat-lady who never learned about spaying.

Or the guy who worked on the kitchen table because he didn’t like going into his office. When you looked in the office door the first thing you saw was a floor-to-ceiling bookcase crammed higgledy piggledy with books and boxes – if there had been a magnitude 1.5 earthquake he’d have been buried alive. His desk was overflowing with papers and fixit projects. No wonder he didn’t want to go in there!

All the ch’i ruffling I’ve done around my own home this past week has really paid off! Three writing assignments, 2 unsolicited job offers, and all those folks tonight. Wow.

Purchasing Paroxsyms

Purchase: (need I tell you it means buy buy buy, the American pastime?)

Paroxsym: a fit, attack, or sudden increase or recurrence of symptoms

I need… No, I WANT to purchase a projector. I have a list of semi-rational reasons for “needing” this electronic gadget, only one of which would bring in any money.

  • $$ I think I could usefully put it into service to promote my feng shui consulting services and to give classes. It would take four consultations to pay for itself.
  • I could use it to show travel pictures – a couple of groups have asked for that.
  • I could use it at Toastmasters for more professional presentations.
  • I could use it for family gatherings to show family pix and movies.
  • I could project DVDs if I wanted to watch with other people. Although home theater and gaming are what most folks use their projectors for, I play no games and watch few movies (and almost no TV), so this is not a selling point for me.

I discussed the proposed projector purchase with my daughter a couple of days ago.

“Mom,” she said, “that’s a dumb idea.”

Tonight I called my son-in-law for brand advice because he uses projectors often in his consulting work. “Well,” he said, “I just use whatever projector my client has. It’s just another thing to haul around; what would you do with one?”

I accused him of conferring with my daughter, but he pleaded innocent.

Nevertheless I went online to see what was out there.

Oy vay. There are about a million projectors ranging from $500 to $3500, with features that seem hard to distinguish. Even in the under $1000 range there are dozens to compare.

My eyeballs are totally spinning.

P.S. I thought of the best reason yet to buy a projector.To support President Bush’s Economic Stimulus plan!!! He wouldn’t want me to SAVE my refund, would he?

Partial truth

In yoga we are looking at the Sanskrit term “Satya”, which means being truthful, both to oneself and others. It’s interesting how we see in ourselves only the truths that we want to see. Partial truth.

The partial truth is that my income has been severely reduced since my husband and I separated in 2001. This is the truth I wanted to see when it came time to re-up my annual pledge of financial support to the church where I belong.

In the Unitarian tradition we do not tithe the way many Christian denominations do, giving 10% of income to the church. However, as a spiritual practice I (and many other UUs) tithe by donating 5% of income to the church and 5% to various other causes.

So this week I looked at my tax return and said to myself, “You poor poor thing. You’d better reduce your pledge this year.” I gave myself a list of very reasonable reasons for this line of thinking.

Meanwhile, to the rest of the truth:

Wouldn’t it be great to have a projector? It would be very handy for doing certain kinds of presentations, and of course I could use it as a bigger screen for watching rented movies. Heck, prices had dropped significantly and you can get an excellent one these days for less than a thousand bucks!

I should pop by Costco tomorrow and check it out.

Oops. If I could afford a projector, could I not afford to maintain my pledge level?

The whole truth is that while my income is down, I do have savings. The whole truth is that a projector sounds like a lot more fun than giving the money away. The whole truth is that I made a commitment to myself to be generous, regardless of the pain.

Damn satya anyway.