A Survival Tool-kit for Presenters and Trainers











These essentials combine great design with utility and don’t break the bank


September is the time for students to gather together their learning tools (aka school supplies) for the coming year. What about teachers and presenters? Obviously, a laptop computer is handy. What else? Here are my essential presenter survival tools, all of which conform to my criteria of great design + utility + affordability. Plus a few extras that should not be forgotten on your packing list.


Remote mouse / slide advancer


If you use slideware, there is no excuse for being stuck beside your computer throughout your talk. If you haven’t yet gotten around to getting one of these, buy one immediately and take it with you everywhere. I like Logitech’s version which comes with its own case. And don’t forget to retrieve the little USB key at the end of your talk!








So useful! Have you ever been one of five panel speakers all trying to copy their presentations to the conference’s laptop a few minutes before the symposium’s start time? Or you are presenting using someone else’s computer, and there is only one USB port available, and you need to plug in both your presentation and your slide advancer (see above)? I especially like Belkin’s version where each of the four USB ports has its own area (USB hubs with parallel ports can get a mite overcrowded). I am not sure if anyplace still carries this one, but can try here…







External laptop speakers

Cyber acoustics

Even if the training venue has a sound system, it doesn’t always work. You want to play your demonstration videos or your intro music, and these Cyber Acoustics portable USB speakers are super-light and magnetically snap together for travel. They also cost under $20.00.







Back-up of your presentation and handouts

What if you drop your computer? What if it gets stolen? For sure someone can borrow a laptop for you. They can’t help with the presentation though, so bring a spare USB key just in case.


Extension cord

It amazes me how many training rooms I have been in that don’t have an electric outlet anywhere even remotely convenient to plug in a laptop or projector. And for lack of my own extension cord, I have wasted precious time waiting for someone to track one down – they are invariably rare especially when needed most.


Extra pens you don’t care if you get back

If you want people to write stuff down, acknowledge that some folks may not have anything to write with. It’s easy to pack a few cheap pens, just in case.


Bottled water

Do not assume there will be a water source. Some training venues are dryer than the Sahara desert.


Energy (preferably in the form of chocolate)



I don’t want to risk a melted mess all over my stuff, but I do want chocolate. My preferred energy sources are M&Ms and Luna Bars.





Rolling Briefcase




OK – now where to stash everything? I have searched years for the perfect “training suitcase”, and I think I finally found it: great quality, good looking, well-designed, compact and affordable. This Swiss Gear four-wheeler has a mini-office organizer in front and a spacious interior for overnight travel necessities. It’s also carry-on size for most airlines, and packs up all my stuff with room to spare.

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