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There are many things that people legitimately fear—death, disease, clowns—and those fears can limit us, debilitate us, or make us fall short of achieving our true potential. But some fears can be overcome, and one of those fears, one which affects many more people than you think, is the fear of having to pitch or present an idea to a group of people—the fear of not being able to come up with a killer presentation.
Giving a presentation doesn’t have to be that dramatic. Some people are really good at it (I secretly hate them). Some people can walk into a room and own it, speaking with relative ease and broaching a variety of subjects while still getting their point across. Others need tools to wow the crowd; whether it’s PowerPoint or hand puppets, giving a proper presentation can always benefit from having a little razzle-dazzle. For the most part, you can forget the old days of walking into a room with an easel and a marker. Although a good idea never needs a lot of pomp and circumstance, we live in a digital age in which our attention span rivals those of tree frogs, and our YouTube-addicted brains are wired for instant gratification, so it’s best to be prepared. When looking for the right tools, though, you should start from the ground up. You need power. You need a point. You need PowerPoint. And you might need Kensington’s help.
Kensington makes office products. Chances are you’ve seen this company’s products in your office already. Kensington first garnered a reputation for making quality locking devices to secure your laptop or PC—so much of a reputation that many laptop manufacturers will state in their specifications whether their security protocol includes Kensington-lock compatibility. The company has branched out since then, offering charging docks and trackballs, and even ergonomic foot, back, and seat rests, but still keeps the mindset that office products should be smart, safe, and simple, and offers a set of products that can help you deliver a killer presentation at your next meeting.
Let’s start with the basics: connecting your laptop or tablet to a peripheral display or device. Most power users don’t want to lug around a desktop computer from worksite to worksite, so they opt for an Ultrabook™ or tablet (or hybrid, like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4). Kensington makes a series of adapters that can connect to almost any device, and include 4K-resolution capabilities without the addition of expensive graphics cards to your laptop or tablet. Take the VU4000D 4K video adapter, for instance. It attaches a device with a USB 3.0 port to any 4K-capable monitor, display, or HDTV with a DisplayPort terminal, enabling 4K resolution without having to worry about your laptop or tablet’s graphics capabilities. You can extend your desktop, or mirror it with this simple plug-and-play device, no drivers needed. It’s also backward compatible to standard 1080p displays, so it can be used almost anywhere. The VU4000 does the same, but takes a standard USB 3.0 to HDMI approach. This one is more suited to getting your laptop or tablet connected to a flat screen TV or monitor with an HDMI connection and 4K capability.
You can also check out this handy table, which shows you how each display adapter works, and how they can help you connect to your display.
|Adapter||Port 1||Port 2||Useful for|
||Desktop to 4K monitor|
||Laptop to 4K monitor|
||Tablet to monitor / tablet to HDTV|
||Tablet to monitor / tablet to HDTV|
||Tablet or laptop to monitor or projector|
||Laptop or tablet to projector|
Okay, so you have your display ready. What other tools might you need to give a professional flair to your presentation? How about a laser pointer? While many might argue that laser pointers are not in vogue for presentation, having a pointer is of great use when speaking to large groups. Not only are they good for pointing out specific areas of your presentations, they’re also great for changing a slide or starting an animation in your presentation (especially if the laptop is in the back of the room and you’re in the front). The Kensington PresentAir Pro Bluetooth Presenter does the job you need, and more.
It eliminates the traditional USB receiver and pairs with your Bluetooth devices via Bluetooth 4.0 LE (formally known as Bluetooth Smart). It has three modes: Presenter, Media, and Custom, and a free PresenterWorks app lets you change the button assignments in Custom Mode. It’s one of the few presenters that’s literally pen-sized (and easily fits in my shirt pocket). It’s compatible with Android 4.4 and above, Windows 8.1 and above, and iOS 8 and above (Presenter Mode only supports PowerPoint in iOS systems). The bright red laser is visible, even in large auditoriums, and the tip of the pointer can alternately be used as a stylus for touch-screen applications.
So you’ve got your presentation tool and your display ready. Let’s look at wireless keyboard options. When you’re using a tablet (like the Microsoft Surface Pro series), you may not have the Type-cover keyboard attached, or you may have to sit in the back of the conference room, away from your tablet. That’s where the Kensington KP400 Switchable Keyboard comes in. With USB and Bluetooth connectivity, you can use this, wired via a USB cable (and not drain the two AAA batteries) or wireless within a 30-foot range of your device. The full-sized keyboard (with numeric keypad) features auto power on/off, auto wake/sleep, and the ability to go from wired to wireless operation with the flick of a switch. I used this setup for the review, and the travel on the keys was appropriate for this level of keyboard, with comfortable spacing between the keys. It paired easily with all my devices, and I even used it to control Chromecast, web surfing on my TV. It was a no-brainer on the Surface, as well.
Speaking of the Surface, Kensington wants to make sure yours is protected when delivering your presentation (I can’t remember how many times I dropped my laptop or tablet minutes before the big show, only to watch the dreaded BSOD—Blue Screen of Death—come up when the party started). The Kensington BlackBelt 2nd Degree Rugged Case for Microsoft Surface Pro 4 features, among other things, military-grade protection (MIL-STD-810G) for drops and scratches and a textured surface that’s easy to grip and resistant to sliding off a conference-room table. It allows unobstructed access to all the ports (including the cameras and jacks) on the Surface Pro 4, and even contains a raised bevel to protect the screen. It will enclose the Surface Pro 4 and a Type Cover completely, and lets you use the kickstand as it was intended. Kensington also offers a line of BlackBelt cases for the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini, as well.
So, the next time you get knock-kneed and freeze up like an executive deer in the headlights because you have to face a group of investors, a gaggle of clients, or a pod of clowns, go into the breach prepared, polished, and professional. Nobody ever won a battle because they forgot to bring tanks.
Questions? Post them in the Comments section, below.