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Presentation Equipment

This page looks at the equipment we use when making a presentation and the English words we use to talk about it.
Your most important equipment is YOUEasily your most important piece of equipment is...YOU! Make sure you're in full working order, and check your personal presentation carefully - if you don't, your audience will!
notebook computer The notebook computer is used to display text and graphics during presentations. Basically, it can display anything that you put on your computer screen, including entire presentations generated by presentation software. An excellent tool if used in moderation, but not as an alternative to you—the speaker. It is often used in conjunction with an overhead projector or other projector, which projects the image from the computer screen onto the wall screen.
A good workman never blames his tools.
overhead projector (OHP) The overhead projector (OHP) displays overhead transparencies (OHTs or OHPTs). It has several advantages over the 35mm slide projector:
  • it can be used in daylight
  • the user can face the audience
  • the user can write or draw directly on the transparency while in use
whiteboard The whiteboard (more rarely blackboard or greenboard) is a useful device for spontaneous writing - as in brainstorming, for example. For prepared material, the OHP might be more suitable.
duster The duster is used for cleaning the whiteboard. It is essential that the duster be clean to start with. You may consider carrying your own duster just in case.
felt markerMarkers are used for writing on the whiteboard (delible - you can remove the ink) or flipchart (indelible - you cannot remove the ink). They are usually available in blue, red, black and green. Again, it's a good idea to carry a spare set of markers in case you are given some used ones which do not write well.
flipchart or paper-boardThe flipchart consists of several leaves of paper that you 'flip' or turn over. Some people prefer the flipchart to the whiteboard, but its use is limited to smaller presentations.
35mm slide projector
The Slide projector - which must be used in a darkened room - adds a certain drama. Slide projectors have mostly been overtaken by digital electronic media and are rare today. Some slide projectors can be synchronised with audio for audio-visual (AV) presentations. These projectors are typically used for larger presentations. The majority take 35mm slides or transparencies (as seen here), but projectors for 6x6cm slides are also available.
screenTransparencies are projected by an overhead projector or a slide projector onto a screen - in this case a folding screen which can be packed up and transported.
handouts Handouts are any documents or samples that you 'hand out' or distribute to your audience. Note that it is not usually a good idea to distribute handouts before your presentation. The audience will read the handouts instead of listening to you.
So much for equipment. Now we can consider the various techniques for delivering a presentation in English...