When you present, your audience have all sorts of computer devices out. What does a notebook tell you about your audience?
At one presentation, the audience used 1 Acer, 4 Macs, 1 Toshiba, and 1 unbranded notebook.
The Toshiba had the biggest screen. The Toshiba range includes notebooks with bigger screens plus small thin light computers, the type Apple copied when Apple designed the Mac Air. Big screens are used by people who present to other people. Sales people show product demonstrations on big screens. They tend to be the type who make one big presentation each day, rather than a dozen smaller ones. Big screens are also popular with people who are desk bound during the week and take their office home for the weekend.
Based on observing Toshiba notebook users at several presentations, training courses, and other events, they pay attention.
Three of the four Mac users paid more attention to their Macs than the presentations. I know they paid attention during my keynote because of the high interaction level. For some of the other presentations, they switched off part way through and did other things. I was at the back of the audience for part of the day and could see what was on the screens. They could have searched for related information but instead went elsewhere.
The Toshiba was usable out of the box. The four Macs all needed external devices to make them usable. Mr Jobs sells you a Mac for slightly more than a Toshiba then sells you all the bits he left out for an incredible extra profit. Ok, some Macs arrive with lots of extra devices. You still have to carry them around. Having devices built in also offers protection from walking off with all those little bits.
There are a lot of models in the Toshiba range offering you the right combination of everything without anything you do not need. Buyers of the Toshiba professional range tend to be second time buyers who know what they want and are willing to pay for the complete set. They are often more decisive in other areas including buying products or services from you. A Mac user might be decisive in their area of expertise but their area of expertise is often not technology and discussing technical choices can be difficult. In Web sites and some other areas, they prefer something that looks good over something that works.
Web designers, the people who make Web sites look nice, like Macs. The people who make Web sites work, Web Architects and developers, prefer faster machines and use Unix, Window, or Linux, depending on their data sources and customer compatibility requirements. Now that Apple has copied everyone else and converted to an Intel/Unix combination, some Web Architects and developers moved to Mac for customer compatibility. A common thread is the replacement of Mac software with the software everyone else uses. Mac has a weird Web browser and many Mac users in information technology replace their browser with the standard Firefox. The same people like
shiny and new, leading to them replacing Firefox with Google Chrome. If your Mac users are using Chrome, they work in IT. Three out of the four Mac users had replaced whatever Apple supply with Chrome.
The Mac+Chrome users claim Chrome is the fastest browser for scrolling, a very technical claim, indicating they should have knowledge of technology and be savvy customers when buying technology from you. Many of them started using Chrome when they started using a new faster notebook and the benefit might not be derived from measured of a direct comparison. You have to ask deep questions to differentiate between those who know the difference and those who purchased based on the opinion of others.
Toshiba has two ranges, a cheap range and a professional range. The shops appear to know the difference. Acer is different. Acer has both professional and cheap models but they are all mixed up. You have to look at the guarantees to see a difference and you can often buy an undistinguished model with a choice of a cheap style guarantee or a professional guarantee. The choice is confusing. You cannot tell much about an Acer user by the brand, other than guess that someone probably shopped around on price. Acer and some other brands, including Dell and HP, are popular choices for purchasing officers making bulk corporate purchases without having to use the chosen notebook themselves.
One Mac user had to switch to a PC because they Mac did not work with the data projector, a common Mac problem. You have to use the right converters for Macs and they are easily forgotten among the pile of other connectors and converters. If you are hosting an event and presenters say they are bring Macs, remind them to bring their adaptors and expect some to bring every adaptor except the right one.
Toshiba computers from their professional range appear to last a year or two longer than the other brands mentioned so far. In many events, the oldest surviving computers appear to be Toshibas and IBM Thinkpads. The owners paid a little bit more up front for extra capacity and performance. The investment paid off in a longer stable life. You are seeing long range thinking there. You can talk about the long range benefits of your products and services.
You can see some behaviour differences based on age. The older audience expect notes handed out at the start of the presentation and use a pen to annotate the notes, usually the fastest way to record ideas.
The next age group, going down in age, expect the notes emailed out at the end of the event and use their notebooks to type ideas.
The third age group search online for any subjects you mention or terminology you use, sometimes missing your explanation of the relationship between your main topic and side issues. You can see similar behaviour online in discussion groups where people rush in, skip the development of the discussion, and post extensive comments in areas already defined as not related.
Some of the newest participants in digital technology spend the time tweeting then expect to catch up by watching a video of your presentation. If you want to bring that minority into the discussion, you have to tweet to them. In a small audience you can bring them around in a few minutes. A large audience of tweeters would waste your whole session attempting to bring them into the discussion.
Some presenters place images on screen then talk about them at length. The tweet group switch off quickly. You need more examples. You need to switch from example to example fast enough to let them know they need to watch the screen. Walk among the audience to let them see you seeing what they are doing. Some will stop when spotted.
Tablet PCs were a big flop when originally introduced all those years ago. Now Apple is introducing their iTablet named an iPad and people will pad in the audience. Those strange hand movements under the desk are not illegal or immoral, they are just imitation mouse movements, called gestures by Apple addicts, on an iThing. Years ago Microsoft had whole desks, tables, and walls set up for that type of thing. The movies are full of it to pretend they are modern (but the hero still has to punch it out with the bad guy at the end of the movie). You can capture some of those people by...
The rest depends on the type of event and your presentation. I am happy to assist with event details, presentation details, and coach presenters where there is a need to convey technical information or
how to details.