With all the presentation and meeting related technology on the market you’d think that standing up to pitch your ideas and arguments would be plain sailing. Far from it – a lot of the technology just serves to confuse, further undermining the confidence of the presenter. In this report, AV News reviews both the latest technology, designed as a gateway between users’ familiar mobile devices and meeting room AV solutions, and a new training course to help even reluctant presenters deliver their pitch with impact.
A recent report, from Vanson Bourne and Barco, reveals that a shocking 86% of office workers experience serious “meeting stress” when grappling with technology during meetings and presentations.
The research showed that:
- Heart rates reached a staggering 179 bpm when office workers struggled with issues like sharing screens and finding the right cables in order to give presentations
- In trying to deal with tech problems, staff are wasting significant amounts of their valuable time: 25% try to fix problems themselves, 22% call IT/tech support, 33% end up giving up with the tech altogether
- For 93%, this “meeting stress” has serious knock-on effect on every aspect of their work – presentations were of a poorer quality, time was wasted, deadlines were missed, and for 12%, it even resulted in lost promotions and lost business!
Vanson Bourne’s study canvassed 1,000 office workers across the UK, US, France and Germany who run, present at or attend meetings. They were interviewed in March 2016. In a parallel qualitative exercise, Mind Labs conducted a study of people’s reaction to technology going wrong in meetings.
27 participants took part in the study, all of whom work in offices, holding meetings and giving presentations at least once a month. Participants were connected to equipment measuring their electro dermal activity and heart rate. They were given two presentation scenarios – one in which the technology was set up with a Barco Clickshare device to work seamlessly, and one in which they had to set up technical aspects themselves. Their stress levels were recorded during both sessions and compared.
The research goes on to show that over half of UK business people who are regularly forced to take time away from their work to grapple with meeting room technology do so on a regular basis. This has serious negative implications for themselves, and for the business.
Amongst the biggest challenges for UK employees were sharing content and screens, and finding the right cables to connect to in-room devices. In trying to deal with tech problems, staff are wasting significant amounts of their valuable time: 60 percent try to fix problems themselves, 49 percent call IT/tech support, 30 percent end up giving up with the tech and going to their plan B.
Some 15 percent even postpone meetings until technology problems can be fixed. The vast majority (90 percent) actually pre-prepare for technology failures: preparing handouts as alternatives to tech, coordinating with IT in advance, and 44 percent even do a tech rehearsal.
As a result of struggling with technology in meeting rooms, a quarter of UK office workers have missed important deadlines, and some have even missed out on personal opportunities like promotions (7 percent). Worryingly, 15 percent reported that their meeting room technology struggles actually lost the company business.
This implies that poorly performing meeting technology has a potential knock on effect of damaging both personal and corporate reputations. In this environment, 81 percent of respondents believe that meeting technology should be taken more seriously.
The BYOD influence
Dr David Lewis, Neuropsychologist and Director of Mind Labs International said, “People show a clear stress response when faced with difficulties in getting meeting room technology to work. Stress in the workplace does not have a positive impact. People miss deadlines, and some even report that they have missed out on promotions as a result. Removing these stresses from workers should be a top priority for businesses.”
Lieven Bertier, Head of Product Management ClickShare said, “Investing in meeting room technology which works at the click of a button will significantly help in reducing complexity and stress from office workers lives. When office staff can share screens more easily and collaborate more easily, businesses benefit by becoming more efficient. Having a more productive and efficient business has a positive outcome for businesses growth, and the bottom line.”
Connectivity between personal, mobile devices and meeting room AV to support collaborative working has become a priority for vendors of displays and various other technologies.
Presentation gateways: simplify presentations from your mobile device
Barco’s ClickShare is probably the leading professional meeting room presentation solution, but it is not the only one. A number of new solutions, at a variety of price points, have been introduced to the market by both collaboration specialists and display vendors. Last month we looked at wePresent wiPG2000. This month it’s the turn of Vivitek’s NovoPRO.
Vivitek NovoPRO NP2000 / NovoPRO Launchers
Wireless presentation gateways have become a significant product category over the last couple of years, as the BYOD trend has caught hold. For the presenter, or meeting attendee, can enjoy the convenience of presenting from a familiar mobile device while sharing content on meeting room AV. In many respects, a projector is an ideal companion display device to a wireless presentation gateway, being compact, self-contained and affordable.
The key points to consider when selecting a presentation gateway are compatibility with source devices and AV solutions, functionality and ease-of-use. With the greater choice of solutions on the market, affordability is no longer an issue. (The NovoPRO NP2000 is available at ProjectorPoint for £550 ex VAT.) Turning a standard meeting space into a collaborative workspace for this sort of price plus a projector (ideally perhaps a UST model) demands little justification.
We tested the NP2000 with a mix of iOS and Android mobile devices. The device ships in a single box, about the same size as an iPhone box. This is Vivitek’s second generation presentation gateway, and has a truly impressive spec sheet. NovoPro’s Quad Core processor can serve up to 64 client devices, with four concurrent sources displayed on the AV screen (video content only be displayed in single screen mode). The device is able to output 4K, and to stream 1080p video at 60 fps. Its Airplay functionality allows full mirroring from iOS devices. Other features include annotation, screen shots and voting.
The initials set up took about an hour. Like many such devices targeted into the prosumer space, the instructions were less than ideal – fortunately setting up the NP2000 was largely intuitive. For example, you have a number of options for accessing the NovoPresenter app, including a dongle and a QR code. We chose to use the QR code and had no problems loading the app (the USB dongle is good for those companies with IT policies which prevent loading external apps.)
With all the meeting attendees with the software loaded on their mobile devices, we started the ‘meeting’ with a video. This was shown in single screen mode at 1080p on an LCD LFD. Issues that we encountered were latency, and the resulting ‘jitters’ on playback. This we are prepared to put down to Wi-Fi quality. A little more strange were the problems encountered using the same content through iOS and Android. Android worked except for the screen rotation function, which meant that we unable to show the video full screen in landscape format. Once the video was playing the NovoPro automatically switched to full screen, leaving the device in portrait mode.
The iOS version had greater problems in that the video on the Apple device would open in its own player – instead of through the app – and so never played properly. This issue would inevitable prompt a call to tech support, so for prospective end-user sales a basic level of tech-savviness is required. The instructions assume you have a prior knowledge of such devices, a problem that will generate a potentially unacceptable level of support calls.
Our recommendation to customers is to be very specific about the precise uses that the NovoPRO NP2000. For the typical PowerPoint authored presentation with spreadsheets, images and text we would not anticipate serious problems. Simple instructions to notice user on using the QR code to acquire the app should see them up and running in moments. For anything more ambitious, it’s probably wise to have some expertise in the room. So does it cure those presentation technology nerves – yes, up to a point.
NovoPro QL200 Launcher
Projector Point is currently offer a NovoPro NP2000 / NovoPRO Launcher bundle for £855 ex VAT. For the small extra cost over the NP2000 alone, the QL200 PRO Launcher is a USB-connected device with software preloaded. Plugging the source (often a laptop) into the Launcher and clicking the button displays the content on the projector or other meeting room display – described by Vivitek as “a true plug-n-play-to-display solution”.
While there’s short delay between the laptop and the LFD, it’s more or less seamless stream. Video stored on the laptop played on the screen successfully as did the other content selected. Instructions were clearer than for the NovoPRO NP2000, which is really the wrong way around because the NP2000 is the more complicated device.
For environments where meeting facilities often play host to guest from external organisations, the NovoPRO is a useful addition.
Train away presentation stress
REVIEW: Presenting with impact.
2-day course: EdgeNLP.
Presentations are ever more important as report writing and reading in general are relegated to a supporting role. For the manager seeking to inform and influence, the sales person trying to make a sale or any kind of advocate for a cause the ability to present well are is important as qualifications or a driving licence.
For some, the ability to speak convincingly, to package information effectively and even to entertain seems perfectly natural. While they would probably never admit it, many of these ‘presentation naturals’ have actually had the benefit of some form of instruction or coaching. ‘Presenting with impact’ is about more than choosing the right words and slides – it goes back to the basics of how you stand, the way you gesture and even the way you breathe.
The EdgeNLP course ‘Presenting with impact’ assumes nothing. It starts right from the beginning with sections on how to take perfect control over your body and your voice so you exude confidence. In addition, the course teaches some NLP techniques, such as ‘matching’, ‘mirroring’ and ‘eye contact’ for building a rapport with your audience.
Why is this important? Figures shared by the course instructors are revealing: 55% of effective communication depends on body language; 38% on tone of voice; and just 7% on the actual words spoken.
How many presentations, seminars and conference sessions have you been to where the moderator asks the audience for questions, to be met by an overwhelming silence. Most of us welcome interaction with our audience – it shows they were listening, and – if we have done a good enough job – understanding.
The ‘Presenting with impact’ is very good at providing acronyms as aide memoires for attendees. When you do get questions from an audience member you obviously want to reward the contributor with a considered answer, (although it’s not unknown for speakers to answer the question they want asked rather than the one actually asked). If you want to be genuinely helpful to the questioner, the course instructors proposed the acronym LACES (for Listen, Acknowledge, Clarify, Explain and Stop Talking as a technique for answering questions.
To encourage discussion within the presentation, the course proposes a model with the acronym SAINT (for Solution, Impact. Next steps and Thanks) to lead the discussion. The technique is based on a structured list of open questions which focus the conversation.
There can hardly be a meeting attendee left in the world that hasn’t experienced the ‘death by PowerPoint’ syndrome. A picture might say a thousand words, but a thousand pictures says the collected works of Marcel Proust. Presenters guilty of this sin often compound the error by overstuffing their slides with too much content. The course instructors advise using no more than 10 slides each with a maximum of 6 to 8 bullet points.
This good, practical advice which should be common-sense but the incidence of transgression is such that it is clearly news to some. Coupled with the theoretical elements and the preparatory material conditioning the body and voice for presentation, the ‘Presenting with impact’ course is a comprehensive review for those learning to present or those with a need to improve and hone their technique. Practical exercises bring all of these elements together and demonstrate each students progress.
The course that our reviewer attended was held in a venue near Milton and had 6 participants, which allowed for plenty of one-to-one help for participants.
Comments from delegates included:
Sam, IT Consultant
“Edge NLP gave me a fantastic insight into how I am seen by the audience. I can now stand up and talk with the freedom to make it better each time. This is now an exciting challenge, not a fear. Strangely what was once the fear of failure has been replaced by this kind of anticipation to see what can achieve.
Sue, Production Director
“The ‘Presenting with impact’ takes a novel and effective approach to training and developing presentation skills, with an emphasis on building self-confidence when standing up to present. The experience and skills on offer from the EdgeNLP team have given me a lot more confidence in my presentation skills – to use the maxim of the day, ‘FAB’ (Focus Action and Believe). Great stuff.”