take an extension cord

moving arm can cause damage signI work at a church. Today, a bunch of people set up displays to talk about what they do and to invite other people to support them. As I was providing tech support, I realized that I needed to offer some suggestions for those of you who might be working in similar environments, places where non-tech people are trying to tell stories with technology.

  • If you are going to set up a display somewhere, take an extension cord. And maybe a block plug so you can share power.
  • If you are going to have someone show a presentation for you, clearly explain (in writing) what is on the disk.
  • If you say that you are going to need a DVD player, please send a DVD recorded to play as a DVD, as opposed to a DVD used as a way to store several kinds of media.
  • If you are sending a PowerPoint, compress the images so that someone doesn’t have to try to load a PowerPoint that is 268M.  (I recorded these tutorials a year ago for PowerPoint 2003 and PowerPoint 2007. Oddly, the whole world has not paid attention.)
  • If you are wanting people walking by your table to watch what you are showing, use a DVD player with a screen larger than 4″ by 6″.
  • If there will be a lot of noise in the room, don’t make the sound track be the only place you are telling the story.
  • If you are putting titles on a slide, be sure that when your show is on a video monitor, the words are visible at the edges of the screen (because what you see on your computer screen isn’t the same as on a TV screen.)
  • If you are putting titles on a slide or movie, use a clear simple large font.
  • If you are wanting involvement with people walking by: large pictures, large font, simple story. Then, when they stop, you can talk with them.
  • If you are really excited about what you do, have someone who isn’t help you with your project. You know too much of the inside story. You will skip the ideas that are important to people who don’t care yet. I promise.
  • Smile.
  • Figure out how to get part of your display off a table, higher than the crowd.
  • Figure out how to get part of your display off a table, low enough for the people for whom table height is eye level.
  • If you don’t understand technology, don’t assume that someone will. I’m not everywhere.
  • Remember that the point is not the display. The point is how you are trying to change the world. The display needs to help others understand how they can do that, too.

…and remember, in the middle of all the important, huge, significant, life-changing work you are doing…take an extension cord.

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2 responses to “take an extension cord

  1. This made me LOL at work…thanks for that on a Monday morning…except there’s no way to explain you and why this is supremely funny to me to my co-workers…

  2. Jon, really good tips and it made me laugh too, especially the part, “i’m not everywhere.”

    I enjoy your blog and your Twitter posts, thanks for making me smile!