Don't fool yourself into thinking that only smart-alec presenters who want to look high-tech and cool use presentation remotes. The truth is that these days, a remote control to forward your presentation slides is more of a necessity then it is a nice-to have.
There are practical reasons why you should get a remote:
- It helps you maintain focus. Every time you shift your focus off of the audience, you're making a mistake. This goes for reading from your slides, turning your back to the audience, and yes, struggling to find your keyboard and mouse every time you want to forward a slide. A remote helps you keep your focus on the audience, since you can maintain eye contact with. After all, you've got the power to change your slides in your hands.
- It helps you maintain rhythm. Perfect voice-overs are nice when used correctly with slides. With a remote and some rehearsal you can time your slide transitions perfectly and maintain the rhythm of your talk, by not jumping between the audience and your gear (laptop) every time you want to bring up your next point.
- Running up and down the stage is tiresome. It can also look silly: If you've busy making a point, using gestures and body language, and all of a sudden need to drop everything to rush over to your laptop and find the forward arrow, you extinguish your chances for keeping the fire going and possibly lead up to the climax of your talk.
- It's a good way to keep track of time. Some of the best remotes have built in timers and a vibrating alarm that silently goes of in your hand at a given time (say, when you have only 5 minutes left). That's pretty cool and very helpful if the venue you're speaking at isn't fancy enough to have a countdown timer.
The Logitech R800 is the McLaren of presentation remotes and stops just short of making Cappuccinos mid-sentence. This one has controls, a timer, a laser pointer, and a vibrating alarm. Oh, and it's the length of a standard pen.
Presentation remotes aren't very expensive, and will certainly help you with a smoother delivery and greater focus during your talks. Once you've learned to deliver with a remote, you'll never want to go without one again.