Public Speaking Tips #3

Public speaking can be terrifying for some people.  This is part of a series of presentation and public speaking tips from CDS. Our tips will hopefully help you to master the basic technical skills of presenting so you can focus on delivering your message.  As always, you can call us on 02 9940 3776 or contact us to discuss your needs.

Can I Bring My Own Device?

Technology is constantly changing, and presenters want to make use of the latest tools. Unfortunately the A/V world can sometimes be a bit of a stick-in-the-mud – always wanting to do things the same way that they’ve always been done.  The truth is that there is no reason you can’t use your own device in any presentation, as long as your A/V supplier is up with the times and you let them know in advance!

Apple Mac Computers

Apple has a tendency to change the video-out connection on their laptops from model to model over time.  As such, they supply a special cable to adapt the laptop to industry standards such as VGA or HDMI.  This cable adapter is often referred to as a ‘dongle‘.  A good A/V supplier will have an assortment of adapters available, but the best way to be sure is to bring your own – especially if you have a system more than a couple of years old.  These are easy to buy at your local Apple store or online, and it doesn’t hurt to have your own – you know you are going to need it again one day!

Apple iPad / iPhones

Yes, you can run presentations from your iPad!  Many people will use Apple Keynote on their iPad for their presentations, but if you are using Microsoft Office for the iPad you should read our previous post here.  Just like the Apple Macbook laptops, iPads have a couple of different types of video adapters depending on the model you have.  Your A/V supplier should have a few adapters available but as always, it doesn’t hurt to buy your own from the Apple Store.  If you have an iPad 1, 2 or 3 you will need a 30-pin to VGA or HDMI adapter.  If you have an iPad 4 or iPad Air you will need the Lightning VGA or HDMI adapter.

Windows Laptop

Almost all Windows Laptops have a standard VGA output which is very easy to connect to the A/V equipment in the room.  Sometimes your laptop may have a HDMI socket.  HDMI will give a better result on some equipment, but as most projectors work at XGA (1024 x 768) resolution, VGA is going to give you the most compatible solution, albeit at a lower resolution than your laptop and HDMI can output.

Microsoft Surface Tablet

The Microsoft Surface Tablet is an amazing device – the high end model is basically a full-blows Windows computer in a tablet format!  Software wise it is highly compatible, but again you will probably need special adapters to connect it to a standard projector.  Generally speaking, A/V companies may probably have adapters available, but as it is not yet as common as Apple iPads you should seriously consider having your own dongle to make it work.

Android Devices

There is no reason why Android devices can’t be used for presentations, however due to the fractured nature of Android development there can often be compatibility issues.  We strongly recommend that you test your Android device with a VGA  or HDMI projector or monitor before deciding to use it for a presentation in front of a live audience.  By the way, ‘fractured’ development means that different manufacturers of different devices use different versions of Android and they are not all the same nor are they updated at the same time.  This differs from the strict control that Apple imposes on their devices through a closed and tested development environment.


Linux users tend to be ‘tinkerers’ so are more likely to be prepared to play around with software settings and software drivers to get their gear working.  Please bear in mind though that most A/V technicians are NOT experts in Linux so, with all due respect, you are pretty much on your own!  We suggest that while supporting Linux might be a noble pursuit, you may wish to consider a more standardised platform for those times that you are presenting live to an audience of your peers – why take the risk?

Other Unusual Configurations

Occasionally we have encountered unusual configurations, such as Microsoft Windows installed on an Apple Macbook laptop.  While the manufacturers provide tools to enable this, it is not officially supported by either party.  This is a fascinating topic and an interesting way to explore the limits of technology, however we have seen it raise unexpected issues where the system can work when tested on an individual projector or monitor, but then fail when connected into a sophisticated A/V system with scan converters, vision switches etc.  This is pretty cutting edge technology and again, while we find it fascinating we suggest you consider a more standardised system when you are standing on stage and presenting in front of a live audience.


If you are unsure of how your device will work, the best thing is to get in touch with your A/V supplier before the event!  A quick email and they will be more than happy to check up on the tech specs of your equipment and arrange a time before you walk on stage to test or find a solution for you.

Stay tuned for more presentation and public speaking tips in the future and as always, call us on 02 9940 3776 or contact us for an obligation free quote!