These days, you're about as likely to see a successful entrepreneur making a presentation using an overhead projector or a flip chart as you are to see a Wall Street hotshot using an abacus. Such old tools are out of place and downright boring, whether you use presentations as PR opportunities to position yourself as an expert or as a means to directly sell your product or services.
Khera Communications Inc. (http://www.kci.com) of Rockville, Maryland, does both. The company develops high-end technology for Web sites, and runs two successful sites and electronic newsletters of its own. Owner and CEO Raj Khera relies on presentations to associations, chambers of commerce and user groups to build the subscription base for GovCon, the company's Web site for potential government contractors who are looking for information on bids, databases and regulations. But he also uses these presentations as useful public relations and market research tools. "The seminars help us meet people and get feedback on whether we're doing things right," says Khera, 34.
Khera's company uses Microsoft PowerPoint 97 to create multimedia presentations, which it shows with an InFocus LCD projector and Toshiba laptop computer. PowerPoint includes more than 30 templates with coordinated color schemes and precreated animated charts, graphs, clip art, pictures and sounds to help users generate eye-catching presentations.
In addition to the visuals, Khera Communications makes its presentations inventively interactive. For example, Khera asks audience members to describe the kind of contracts they're pursuing. Thanks to a wireless modem that he controls, they can then go directly to his company's Web site and scroll through the database, demonstrating the instant access GovCon offers to what might otherwise be very hard-to-find information on government contracts. "When we couple using this wireless technology with the demonstration of our database," Khera says, "our sales definitely increase."
While your own off-site presentations may not require a wireless modem, you will need a laptop computer and portable projector. Select a projector that weighs less than 10 pounds, such as the InFocus LP420. Other considerations are resolution and brightness. SuperVGA is usually an adequate resolution, and you'll need a minimum of 300 ANSI lumens (or you may have to lower the lights during your presentations). The ability to zoom in and out is important, and remote-control operation is indispensable.