Scott’s Hierarchy of Presentation Needs

As I roll up my sleeves, make some espresso [insert 12 other OCD / procrastination habits], In preparations for another SQLSaturday, I think once again about how I have needs.  I’m not talking about the one’s that Abraham Maslov provided me – those are a given.  I have certain needs as a presenter in order to be successful.  Now this isn’t a paper that is to be published in psychology journal to be pondered upon and dissected  for decades, but simply a draft to be added to and perhaps referenced from time to time when people consider the physical surrounding when they speak.  I haven’t done my due diligence to see if this topic has been suitably covered in other blogs or books, and at this point I’m not sure that I am locked into precedence of layers or completeness.  In fact, please comment with additional recommendations and opinions.

So here we are… remember, it’s just a draft!


  • Audio
  • Visual
  • Connectivity
  • Electricity

Technical Issues… Please Standby – Image to come shortly… 🙁



When influencing, educating, sharing knowledge, it’s important to be heard!  Now anyone who knows me well knows that I have a rather loud voice at times.  Perhaps, I never learned about my, “Inside Voice,” in elementary school, or I am slowly losing my hearing and speak louder to compensate, or because I took music & theatre in school and the ability to project my voice has become an ability that has improved over the years [I’d like to think the latter, but other’s debate heavily over the former two possibilities.]  Where am I going with this?  Oh, yes… “…it’s important to be heard!”  When you are speaking in certain venues, you have Lapel or podium mics, in other venues, the acoustics are similar to that of an amphitheatre and then sometimes, you simply have to project your voice.  It isn’t critical that I know the Audio characteristics of the venue, however, it certainly does help to know ahead of time so that I can properly prepare.


So there is me… I have to be dressed appropriately, PJ’s, slippers… uhm, suit, tie, polished shoes…  But then there is this thing called PowerPoint, and although I’d like to believe that my audience just came to see me… {C’mon, of course, they soooo did…} they likely came to see a technical demo, a psychedelic Data Viz, or an architectural tech diagram.  So it would help if I had the correct connectors for my computer.  Also, of importance is to be privy to the supported resolutions and aspect ratios, but, more importantly, the native resolution of the projection system.  Certainly knowing the size of the screen and room is great to know, it isn’t a major concern in rooms designed for such activities.  When you first start developing your slides… this is the best time to choose your slide format 4:3, 16:10, 16:10.  Changing this afterwards can be a major pain, but Scott Hanselman posted this excellent blog on how to quickly change the aspect ratio without stretched images.  We aren’t talking just about PowerPoint presentations.  If you have visual designers like Visual Studio that have a number of regions, shrinking things down to a low resolution can make it rather cumbersome to navigate. Knowing this beforehand a presenter can practice at this resolution, and make needed changes to the regions that are displayed by the tool by default.  In turn, the audience won’t be distracted by a panicked, disoriented presenter.


Notebooks, small batteries, no power outlets at the podiums/tables.  ‘nuf said…


With so many service offerings in the cloud today, and demo environments living on someone else’s servers, connectivity is king.  Ideally, I’d like to be able to access the internet, connect to a VPN, use Remote Desktop in Azure via an Ethernet Adapter, but know, in reality, this is not always going to be an option.  I understand companies have security concerns so they lock down ports on their firewalls, provided limited bandwidth connections, have a spotty or aged WiFi infrastructure in place or simply don’t provide ANY of these options. Now sure, I have some fairly beefy machines that I can bring along, but I am getting old, and to carry a lot of extra tech in my backpack can do a number on my back.  Let’s not mention that the TSA people raise eyebrows when you have a LOT of hardware for a weekend trip.  Another option is to record videos with Camtasia, and likely a recommended backup in the event that things don’t quite go as planned.



Okay, now it’s your turn!  Did I miss anything here?  Do you have a layer to insert into the Presentation Hierarchy of Needs?  Add your comments below!

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