A pre-roll for my presentations

I like giving talks, lectures, and presentations.

I very much enjoy talking at in-person events, and I’m much less of a fan of talking to a blank screen of muted attendees without their cameras on. That’s a webinar, not an engaging talk. But anyway…

Inevitably, there are times when I’ll be on stage, ready to go, but still waiting for the audience to sit down.

So, years ago, I started using “pre-roll” slides if I was going to be hanging around for more than a couple of minutes.

By “pre-roll”, I mean slides which advance automatically, let people know that my presentation will start soon, and - in pretty typical Neil style - contain some lousy jokes. Sometimes, I include brain teasers, but I haven’t done that for a while.

Basically, things just to keep people’s attention, and let them know what is happening, while they wait for it to start properly.

I saw a lecturer at uni doing this, over 20 years ago, and it has stuck with me.

You can see the kind of thing I use here.

These are reveal.js slides, to which I’ve added some extra code to advance them automatically.

There’s only a couple of minutes of content here; they’re just so that you can see what I have in mind.

Because I’ve written the slides in Markdown, it is easy to do a find-and-replace to include the actual title of my talk in place of “Neil’s talk will start soon”.

(As an aside, I also like to test that everything is working correctly, without using my actual slides. So I use the pre-roll slides for this too. If my main presentation will involve sound or video, I’ll use pre-roll slides which also include sound or video, to make it a useful test.)