Got a presentation? Ask the right questions, bring the right stuff.

Did I bring the right stuff?
Did I bring the right stuff?
As many of you know my day job includes running software company that develops apps on the platform ( This means I spend lots and lots of time giving presentations and demos. I recently sent out my standard demo prep question list to a prospective customer and got an incredibly kind note back from the person asking if they could share it with their staff. I said “of course” and a blog entry was born.
The trend in recent years has been that more and more presentations and demos are virtual, but I still go onsite fairly regularly. Over time I’ve developed a standard set of questions I ask two days prior to the meeting and a standard list of stuff I bring. Please feel free to use my list and of course let me know what I should add.
What I bring?
  1. 10 one page summaries of the presentation
  2. Laptop (even if they have their own equipment and room)
  3. Portable Screen (I leave it in the car but I always have it. I once set it up in a restaurant’s back room to do a demo after a very successful lunch meeting)
  4. MiFi + Charger
  5. Notepad
  6. 4 pens
  7. Business cards (20)
  8. 4 AA batteries (mouse)
Note: I make those one page summaries for three reasons:
  1. Summing it up in one page helps you focus on telling a story instead of speaking in bullet points.
  2. It can help you tailor the presentation to the audience by forcing you to think through the message.
  3. One person who will show up late, one who will leave early and one will miss the presentation entirely. Providing your own summary helps ensure the right message makes it to those audiences.

What I ask?

Hi (meeting coordinator),
I have a few questions I hope you can help me with so I can be fully prepared for (date of meeting).
1. Should I bring a projector or will we be in a room that has dedicated meeting equipment? All I really need for the demo is a computer with a browser and a screen to show it on. If needed I can bring a projector, screen and my laptop, but if you have a meeting room that is already set up I will simply use your equipment.
2. Will I have access to the internet? I will have a portable mifi device that I can use to support an internet connection and the demo, but it uses a cellular signal and is a little slower than a regular WiFi or LAN connection. If you have connection I can use that is the ideal situation. If I am using your computer, internet and screens this question is irrelevant.
3. Can I have access to the room 15 minutes prior to the demo to set up? Our application is easy to use and only requires an internet connection and a browser, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that being early and testing things ensures that I don’t waste everyone at the meetings time troubleshooting some small issue.
4. How many people will be in attendance? I will bring be bringing some presentation and reading materials and I would like to know how many to bring. I should also ask if there is a sensitivity to my bringing printed copies. I can certainly provide electronic instead and I know some offices are trying to minimize the amount of paper that is used. If the preference is for electronic I will simply send the materials out after the meeting.
5. Are there any security procedures or special instructions I will need in order to enter the building/find the meeting room?
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. I’m looking forward to meeting with you all, if you need to reach me for any reason my cell phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Joshua Millsapps

Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates (MBA)
A Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)
TOGAF 9 Certified
ITIL Foundation Certified
[email protected]

As always – I’d love to know what I missing and hop you get some benefit from my lists!

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