What is in my training bag?
I was speaking with a colleague recently and we got talking about the things we use when doing training and what was in our training bag. It was not long before we realised that our training bags were very different. I seemed to rely on tech to carry out my training while he was basic. All he needed was a laptop. On the other hand, I would need a dozen metres of cable and small generator.
Today I am going to go through my bag, so you can see what I am using and what I use each item for.
I will be sharing links to the products I use. Some of these links may be an affiliate link. This means if you buy something I may get a commission. This does not affect you in any way. If you do happen to buy something, thank you for the support.
In my training bag
Notepad and Pen
Before I get into all the technology that I use, there is one staple that I never leave home without. And that is my trusty notepad and pen. I always carry a small A5 pad with me anyway, but if I am going into a training session I always have a separate one. This is used to take notes throughout the session. I can write down questions, bits I want to add into the presentation or amendments that I want to make to the material or flow of the training.
I always get asked questions and most of the time I am generally able to answer them but there are times when I cannot. Having a note pad to hand allows me to then finish the session and get an answer later. Not only is this a great way of remembering things but it allows me to build a better connection with my audience. They know that when I say I will find an answer and get back to them. They know I that I will.
I do not buy anything special, I will usually buy a couple of notepads from Amazon and they will do me for a few months.
Recently we celebrated 30 years of PowerPoint. In that article we talked about where PowerPoint came from. One of the noticeable differences compared to today was that now we have laptops, phones and computers with us to run a presentation. Back then you had to print out a slide onto transparent paper to project It.
Now, I would never dream of being without my laptop or smartphone. My laptop is in my bag wherever I go. But why. My training room in work has PC’s which I can use. Events and other training rooms usually have a PC/laptop. So why bring my laptop everywhere with me.
Familiarity. I like knowing where everything is. On my laptop I know where all the files are kept. I know that it works. I now the little shortcuts that I need.
Another reason why I bring it with me is for back up. I have visited training rooms where the computer was 10 years old. It felt like a sloth would move quicker. But a laptop is used for more than just presenting content. You must create the content first.
And depending on what type of content creator you are, will depend on what type of laptop you will need.
If you create text heavy slides with few graphics and then use the internet to research. A basic laptop will suffice. But if you are like me that likes to use a lot of graphics, creating them in PowerPoint or another graphic software program (I use Affinity Designer). You may need something with a little more oomph.
There is never any need to buy an expensive machine. Buy what meets your requirements.
My requirements were it had to be light. 1.3 KG or less, have at least 8GB ram as I was using graphics software and video editing. And it had to have a USB-c port.
I got the Acer Swift 3. Latest model for £650. It has never let me down. It is a great machine.
Here is a link – Click here
This is a must have when doing any presentation. I always thought I never needed one of these. I was fine using a mouse or the keyboard to move between slides. And I was.
But then my life changed when I got a wireless presenter remote. It just gives you so much flexibility. You can stand anywhere in the room and change slides, you can walk around to interact with the audience. I would never go without one of these now.
The one I use – Click here
This is something that I have added to my training bag recently. I was running an induction which was two weeks long. Two weeks on your feet is a long time. One occasion I decided to sit down and use the Chromecast to cast my laptop screen to the TV.
It worked great. I could flick between screens and present very easily. In this induction group I was switching between chrome a lot as I was using google to show content. Articles, images and videos. The Chromecast worked wonders.
Ever since I have left it in my training bag. Even using it again. I have found that it is great to cover all areas in case something goes wrong.
No matter where you go in the world. You will probably have your phone. You use it as a camera, for emails, to connect with the world.
On the off chance that I have an issue with my laptop I know I can rely on my mobile to help me present. Paired with the Chromecast I can deliver any presentation any where I go.
Something else I use my phone for on occasion is to have my presenter notes near me. I attended some training in Googles offices in London once. The trainer never wrote the material, but he had a small tablet which he carried around with him. He used this to check the trainer notes to make sure he was on track. I found this a neat idea and so I implemented it into my training style.
One final use which I put my smartphone to is to turn it into a wireless router. If I get to a venue and the Wi-Fi has gone down, I know I can use my phone to tether.
I am prepared for every eventuality.
Then there are the little bits that I need. A HDMI cable. Flash drive with the presentation on it. Other wires and cables and finally there is the whiteboard and flipchart markers. You just never know what type of situation you are going to find yourself in.
There we have it. That is my training bag. Maybe I have gone a bit overboard. But I do like to be prepared. I get embarrassed if something goes wrong when it is my time to present. And there is nothing worse than having to go looking for cables or Wi-Fi passwords.
I have shown you mine, so now its time for you to show me yours. What do you have in your training bag when it comes to delivering a presentation. Are you like me and go overboard or are you more conservative. Let me know in the comments below, or join us on Facebook or Twitter for a chat.
Till next time