Whether you’re about to embark on your first opportunity to speak in public or you’ve gotten in front of a crowd dozens of times, presenting can be intimidating. Crafting the perfect slide deck is important, but you’ll need to be able to communicate your message effectively and with confidence to really knock it out of the park.

Technology like Kensington’s Ultimate Presenter with Virtual Pointer can help you get your point across and wow the audience. Follow these five handy tips to make your next presentation a showstopper.

1: Make your first impression your best one

Public speaking is an audience-centered sport. No one can avoid leaving a first impression, so make it a good one by positioning yourself for a confident entrance. Some presenters take the stage looking like they’re heading to their execution. Confidence is a critical ingredient in an effective presentation, and you can nudge yourself toward a positive mental attitude by knowing that you’re thoroughly prepared for what comes ahead.

I minimize my setup time and technology stress by storing my slides right on the Ultimate Presenter’s USB receiver. Plus, after I installed the KensingtonWorks application from the USB receiver or Kensington’s website, I could configure the Ultimate Presenter’s programmable button. The button can be customized with shortcuts to blackout the screen, start and end my presentation, and more. Now I just plug the USB receiver into a computer, click to open my presentation, turn on my Ultimate Presenter remote, and I’m good to go.

2: Work the room

Don’t spend the whole presentation tethered to one spot—especially don’t end up hiding behind the computer! Your movement draws people to focus on and follow you. Get in front of the group where you belong as a presenter, leader and communicator. With my Ultimate Presenter in hand, I can move assertively across the stage or all the way into the audience while remaining securely connected to the receiver. On the other hand, you also don’t want to wander so wildly around the room that your movement becomes a distraction.

To focus my path, I choose a few people in different sections of the audience at the start of my presentation, and make a point to address each one of them during my talk. If you do so, you’ll find yourself moving naturally across the space and connecting the audience, making each listener feel that you’re speaking to him or her.

3: Let your media work for you

You’ve carefully planned your presentation to build momentum and interest, but hunting for keys on a keyboard to move to the next slide or to access multimedia breaks your concentration and the audience’s attention. Luckily, I have the technology to take control over the mechanics of my presentation. The Ultimate Presenter’s intuitive ergonomic design makes it super simple to switch between slides with the forward and backward buttons.

I also like to customize the Ultimate Presenter’s programmable button in a bunch of useful ways. Have a video or audio clip embedded in a slide? I make the button a mouse to click “play” without having to exit the presentation and use a physical mouse. Need to literally draw those connections for the audience? I choose the pen function to make my mark on my slides in real time. Want everyone to get in close? I zoom in to my slides with the magnifying tool. Let your media reinforce your points, not compete with them, to make your presentation shine.

4: Get everyone on the same page

If you’ve already worked with a traditional laser-pointer, you know how easy it is to use the little red beam to guide everyone’s eyes to the same spot on the screen. However, if you find yourself in bad lighting conditions, a laser pointer can be difficult to see or washed out.  Even worse, if you’re presenting on an LCD screen, the laser won’t appear at all! Fortunately, whether I’m speaking in a small boardroom or a vast auditorium, the Virtual Pointer technology shows up on any screen in any environment.

What if the room has two screens, or if I’m presenting online to people who aren’t in the room? Since the virtual pointer is, well, virtual, it can appear on multiple screens at the same time so everyone can follow along. Being virtual also means it’s customizable to look like any image. Make the pointer inconspicuous as a cursor, on-brand as your company’s logo, or keep it old school by having it appear as the familiar blurry red dot. The laser-free Virtual Pointer frees me and my audience to focus on my message and not on worrying whether someone’s about to get an accidental eyeful of laser.

5: Let your hands speak for you

Communication isn’t just about words. Your gestures are a powerful tool to reinforce your message, make a point, project enthusiasm, and make your presentation more interesting to watch. But your hand movements can work against you too. Toying with clothing or tapping your fingers manifests nervousness. Making a fist or pointing a finger might be perceived as threatening. Banish distracting gestures by keeping your hands open and fingers together as you speak. The Ultimate Presenter’s ergonomic design helps me communicate effectively by positioning my hand around the natural curve. The more you use your gestures to develop energy and passion for the topic, the more engaged the audience will be.

Even the most seasoned presenter knows that public speaking is no easy feat. Getting people to sit down and give you part of their day creates pressure to make it worth their while. But remember: the audience wants you to succeed. They chose to loan you their attention for a time, and they’re rooting for you to look confident and give them the information they seek. By preparing thoroughly and following these tips, you’ll give yourself the tools you need to master your surroundings and nail your next presentation.

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