What did people do before technology made our lives easier? They soldiered on. And that is exactly what you will do if technology fails at the most inopportune moment in your presentation. Instead of being scared it will happen, prepare for the day that it does.
We have come a long way since the invention of the telephone. We can now see people thousands of miles away on mobile phone and computer screens as if they were just in the next room. Technology may be wonderful, but it is also unpredictable. What looked great when you were creating the slides and videos, may turn out to be rubbish on the day that you actually need them. What works on the laptop may not translate to a screen of a larger size in a big classroom or conference room.
Speaking is relevant art form. It is not a backup plan. The technological toys we like to use to “wow” the audience is the actual supporting cast. People came to see you and hear what you had to say. They can be wowed by their own tech toys. It is the power of your words, interest and charisma that will make or break the presentation - with or without slides and videos.
Always Have a Plan B
This is more than just a cliché or something that cartoon characters say. Every presenter needs a Plan B. without it, you are dangling from a high wire. So, start thinking right now how you would conduct your next presentation before your staff, business executives, prospective clients, students and convention attendees without the benefit of lights and fireworks. Here are a few suggestions.
- Back up your material – Anything can happen to your laptop or projector. It could get stolen or lost on the plane. A second computer can give you peace of mind in case the first one meets some unfortunate circumstances.
Let your words speak volumes – What an image would do on a screen can be translated into questions that get the audience conjuring up images in their own heads. Do not discount the imagination of your audience. See how they envision the concepts you want to relay to them.
Ask for a break – If tech fails in the middle of a presentation, train of thought is lost and so is concentration on the part of the audience. Use a short fifteen-minute interlude to regroup, try to solve the tech issue, and if not, implement your Plan B.
Practice failure – It sounds funny, but practicing equipment failure, power failure or some other such disaster ahead of time makes you less nervous and jumpy. You are more able to think your way thought the issue clearly to reach a salvageable solution.
Technology is a convenient tool but it shouldn’t replace good old-fashioned presentation skills.