Casual Friday: Presenting Perils

While waiting for a meeting to start yesterday, a colleague and I swapped stories of the perils of presenting.  Whether it’s a livemeeting or a projector hooked to your desktop, there’s some loss of privacy that can come with using your PC to host a meeting.  For example ….

Email?  Where!?
Everyone was supposed to send their updates prior to the meeting, but there’s always someone who comes unprepared and emails their information to the presenter in the middle of the meeting, forcing the presenter to open their email client in front of the entire audience to retrieve the update.  Watch your crowd when this happens … all eyes are on the screen.  People could be completely sidetracked, playing Angry Birds or whatever, and suddenly there’s dead silence and all eyes forward, just in case something they aren’t supposed to see appears when you switch to Outlook.  This isn’t malicious behavior; we all do it.  I’d love to exploit it by hiding important information I need everyone to see.  “Confidential: Tests are failing, fix your code!”

Not my email!
This causes, of course, the behavior where a presenter will do anything he or she can to avoid opening up email.  “Oh, instead of sending me that, could you put it on a share somewhere?  Like, and read me the hyperlink instead of mailing it to me?”

The grooming session
They’re about to present, so they prepare their system.  Close that Facebook tab, and replace it with one to the support forums.  Close the personal email, open one to the intranet site. Maybe make sure the desktop has an IDE open.  Open up some emails that make them look important, leave them sitting in the background.  “What, oh, yeah, didn’t mean to leave that up there. Let me close it slowly enough that you can read this….”

Just don’t care
Then again, some people just don’t care.  They are confident enough to present from within their browser and show their 15 tabs, to ESPN, Craigslist, LinkedIn, their brokerage, and more.  You gonna call them out?  When you work for them?

The paranoid
“Just share your desktop!” come the calls, as the paranoid presenter shares one window at a time, to avoid sharing any more information than necessary.  Meanwhile, dozens of people across multiple geographies have to remind the presenter every few minutes that the latest application they opened isn’t being shared and nobody can see it.

Any stories to add?


#1 Dave on 07.30.10 at 7:11 am

From @CharlesHood on twitter, there’s the peril of forgetting you have your desktop shared, and after the meeting ends you go about your business. Ten minutes later, you see you’re still sharing, and begin the furious backtrack….

#2 Dave on 07.30.10 at 7:12 am

And of course I forgot the rogue IM scenario. “Hey man ‘sup?” “Not much, just presenting in front of my whole team, say hi to my boss.”