You could say that Matt Hill is familiar with speaking in front of large groups. As owner of The Hill Group, a homebased sales training business in San Jose, California, Hill makes a living giving training courses on how to sell effectively at trade shows. Just because he's experienced doesn't mean his speaking engagements have gotten any easier, however. "It's a real challenge when all you have to sell is yourself," says Hill, 44.
While most of us don't give speeches for a living (whew!), many homebased business owners have, on occasion, been put in the same nerve-racking position Hill faces almost every day. When giving presentations for sales calls or meetings, it's often just you in front of a group of people, selling your business, your ideas and, ultimately, yourself.
For Hill, however, owning the appropriate presentation technology relieved some of his stress. A few years ago, he tossed out his overhead projector in favor of a Lightbook LCD multimedia projector from Proxima, which connects to his notebook computer to display presentations. The result, says Hill, is a more interesting, professional-looking presentation created with advanced software that is displayed in full-color and larger than the computer screen. It's jazzed up his image quite a bit as well. "Using really cool technology is what differentiates me from the competition," Hill says.
Electronic presentation technology has come a long way since the days of overhead projectors. LCD projectors have slimmed down, so they're not as bulky and heavy to carry. They also have computer and video inputs to bring true multimedia capabilities to your presentations. What's more, presentation software has become easier to use, and it's possible to produce extremely high-quality presentations in very little time.
But excellent features aren't the only reasons to consider investing in presentation technology. Another key benefit: Owning the equipment gives you more control over the presentation because you're not relying on any unknown elements (namely, your clients' equipment). "Having the right technology and knowing how to work it is a real advantage because you don't have the anxiety of arriving and not knowing how to set up and use the equipment," says Claudyne Wilder, co-author of Point, Click and Wow! A Quick Guide to Brilliant Laptop Presentations (Pfeiffer & Co.) and president of Wilder Presentations, a Boston-based presentation training company.
Furthermore, with prices for LCD projectors and notebook computers continuing to head south, these tools are now more of an option than ever for homebased businesses.