How to instantly start a high-stakes PowerPoint presentation – for a key client, sales prospect, top management, investor pitch, or other VIPs

instant open opportunityGot a high-stakes presentation coming up? Find out how to start your slideshow “auto-magically” when you’re ready to present, so with the simple 2-step technique in this post, all you do is connect the projector and start your laptop, and slide 1 of your slideshow’s already on-screen!

As a bonus, you’ll also find out these neat tricks for your preparations:

  • Hide all your desktop icons in just 2 clicks, so if you exit your slideshow at the venue, your laptop looks extremely neat. (This works in various Windows versions, and you can get the icons back just as quickly afterwards.)
  • Turn off your screensaver and system messages on Windows 7 in just 2 keystrokes, to avoid rude interruptions.



The benefits to you

Especially in front of a key audience, you want to look as professional as possible. Making things run smoothly helps you keep calm, too – to be at your best. So you don’t want to spend time looking for and opening your presentation. Nor do you really want to show your audience PowerPoint, with all its tabs, buttons, thumbnails and speaker notes. You just want to talk with your audience and show them your supporting slides.

How’s it done?

So what’s the secret for starting your slideshow automatically?

As with so many things, the answer’s to prepare: Before you leave for the venue, start your slideshow and then – with your first slide still on your screen – hibernate your laptop. To do that:

  • Press the Windows key1 to open the Start menu, then:
    • On Windows 7, point to the arrow next to Shut down and click Hibernate.
    • On Windows XP, click Shut Down in the Start menu, then choose the Hibernate option, and click OK. (If you can’t see Hibernate, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard to show the option.)

(1The Windows key is usually next to the left Alt key and has a Windows logo on it.)

Your laptop turns off and you’re ready to leave. When you start your laptop at the venue, after you log in to Windows your slideshow will be just how you left it – ready to go!


Hide all your desktop icons in a trice

To hide all your desktop icons:

  • Right-click an empty part of your desktop, then:
    • On Windows 7, point to View and click Show desktop icons to remove the tick or checkmark next to it.
    • On Windows XP, having right-clicked, point to Arrange Icons By and click Show Desktop Icons.

(As with the other parts of this post, do this before you get to the venue for the smoothest effect. When you return, repeat these steps to reinstate the tick and the icons.)

Turn off your screensaver

In Windows 7, you can turn off your screensaver (and messages that appear in popups near the bottom-right of your screen) with just 2 keystrokes. Just press Windows+X to open Windows Mobility Center, then press U (or click the Turn on button) to turn on Presentation Mode.

So there you are, and I hope you find those tips useful. Let me know how you go!

Have your say

  • What high-stakes presentations stick in your mind, and why? (either as presenter or as audience member, and either because they went smoothly or not!)
  • If the stakes are high, do you prepare differently, or just more than usual?


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3 thoughts on “How to instantly start a high-stakes PowerPoint presentation – for a key client, sales prospect, top management, investor pitch, or other VIPs

  1. Pingback: 3 Things Every Presenter Can Learn From James Bond | CARL KWAN

  2. Those are awesome tips, Craig! Nothing says unprofessional more than someone hunting through their files or having a cluttered desktop and a picture of Justin Beiber as a background image.

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