Your computer desktop is also a public space - especially if you ever do presentations or simply have colleagues look over your shoulder.

So get rid of that wallpaper showing you at the beach...really, the best wallpaper is none. Murphy's law rules: you'll have to exit PowerPoint for some reason when the SVP is watching, and that photo won't convey what you want it to.

Same for clutter. If your desktop is covered in icons, it's like having paper scattered all over your desk. Executives notice this. The fix is easy: put all those icons in a folder on your desktop. When you're working, leave the folder open and it's just like having your icons all over your desktop. You can close the folder when you present.

A neat, clean desktop and simple wallpaper will signal that you mean business.

Use your personal machine for funky wallpaper. (You do have your own computer, right? Keeping personal files and photos on company hardware is not a good idea. It's their property, and you could lose access to it with no notice. Not to mention the implications of having anything questionable on company hard drives...)

John Hack

stephenbooth_uk's picture

(Based on a lot of presentations, many from people trying to sell us their services, I've attended over the last several years.)

...don't forget to shutdown your mail client and browser before turning on the projector and to turn off the projector before starting up your mail client or doing a bit of personal browsing during a break.  This is particularly important if you send or receive personal mails at your work email or plan to do internet banking. 

That is, unless you want some free proof reading from your audience or think they'll be impressed by your bank balance.





Skype: stephenbooth_uk (Please note I'm on UK time)

DiSC: 6137

Experience is how you avoid failure, failure is what gives you experience.

pmoriarty's picture
Training Badge

And be especially sure to turn off any IM client.  I can still remember a presentation where suddenly an IM window popped up with, "Hey baby!  What's shakin'?"  How embarrassing!  (no, I wasn't the one presenting :)

jhack's picture

Stephen and pm, great stories, and spot-on points. Reminded me of a time when someone presenting had to go to their browser and type in a URL...of course, as he started typing, the IE dropdown showed all the sites that matched his first characters... go to THAT site on your work computer!?  

Anyway, don't go to any sites you couldn't defend to your boss or legal counsel.  And clear your history before you present.  You never know...

John Hack

kriskross's picture

Instead of having to remember to turn off all my alerts & programs and clean my desktop and edit my screensaver/power settings (I always seemed to forget something), I've found that it's just easier to have a second account that I switch over to for presenting. 


lmoorhead's picture
Licensee Badge

@pmoriarty - so true!. I once had a vendor who was in the midst of a webex presentation and his IM window popped up with something along the same lines. One of my colleagues grabbed a screenshot. We show it to new sales staff under the heading of " what not to do".

jclishe's picture

If you have a Windows 7 PC, then hit the Windows - X key combination before you present to bring up the Windows Mobility Center, then click the "turn on presentation settings" button.

When you have Presentation Settings turned on, all system notifications and pop ups will be disabled, you can configure a default background to automatically be applied, it prevents the machine from going into standby or the screen saver from coming on, and you can configure a default volume setting (or mute).

Then hit Windows - X when you're done, turn off Presentation Settings, and everything goes back to normal. This may work for Vista too, can't remember.


asteriskrntt1's picture

Well done. And Jason, thanks for the last one.  Smart idea.  I heard MS hires smart people. ;)

asteriskrntt1's picture

If you can't keep your space at home organized, get some help and learn to do it.  Transfer that skill to the work place.  Having a great space at home helps you there as much as the great space at work helps you perform better.

jrumple's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I sometimes forget to turn off our IM client at work. We use Microsoft Communicator. It has a setting under Tools --> Options on the Alerts tab that I use. Actually it is unchecking the box for "Display subject or message in conversation alerts." This way if someone decides to open a conversation with "Hey baby! What's shakin'?" The audience just sees a generic "So-and-So invited you to a conversation" alert. I can ignore it until there is a break when I can turn off the projector.

Also I open all of my IMs with "(!!)". This is the keyboard equivalent of the Microsoft Communicator emoticon for "Can you talk?". The people I regularly IM with understand this and have adopted it as a professional opening for their IM conversations.

The few people who I IM with frequently (i.e., once or twice a week) have adopted our own inside code. They will respond with "(#)" which is the sun emoticon if they can talk or "(st)" which is the storm cloud emoticon if they can't talk. We recognize this is a jargon within our group. This is a quick way to manage the interruption.


scm2423's picture

Thanks Jason and Jack, you've provided some great tips