How to Make a Presentation When the Equipment Fails !%!!#!

Remember that sick feeling you had as a kid when the teacher said, “Be prepared for a test tomorrow.” You hadn’t even opened the textbook yet!

That’s how it feels when you’re about to make a presentation and your laptop freezes or something equally awful happens.

Be Prepared

When you’re scheduled to present, be prepared. You don’t want to experience that sick feeling again when something goes wrong. Make a checklist of what you need to be at your best.

Being prepared saved the day recently when we arrived more than an hour early for a presentation only to learn the agency had a new device that connected their laptop to the screen by Wi-Fi. It didn’t work. Luckily, they had the time to find and hook up another laptop.

Make a Checklist

If possible, schedule a visit to the venue. Meet with the AV specialist, if any, in advance so he clearly understands your needs. Is it possible to darken the room with shades or by dimming the lights? Where are the power outlets? Is there a thermostat in the room so that you can control the room temperature?

Here are other items to include in your list:

  • Arrange for speech coaching with your slides and a time to rehearse.
  • Have an AV specialist to help you set up for your talk and insure that you have the necessary cables and that everything is in working order.
  • Take two flash drives containing the presentation in case one fails.
  • Bring an extra power strip and extension cord.
  • Be sure you have extra batteries for your remote.
  • Bring a hard copy of your presentation so you can use that if all else fails.
  • Choose clothing that will allow you to stand out and not blend in with the backdrop color of the room.
  • Arrange for the monitor/laptop to be placed in your sightline.
  • Conduct a sound check of the podium mike or wireless mike.
  • Check that there is a small table or space so that you can have access to water.

Room Service

Be absolutely certain that the room has been reserved for your presentation. Arrive early to set it up.

Recently, we worked with a client who had reserved a conference room for us to use for a full day of presentation training with executives who were flying in from around the world for the meeting.

FrustrationAnother group walked in and claimed they had reserved the room. In the spirit of cooperation, we relinquished the space. Luckily, there was enough time to move the equipment and our meeting to another room.  Nonetheless, that mishap created unnecessary anxiety and took valuable time away from the training session.

A friend had quite a heart stopping experience when she arrived at a large hotel ballroom she had booked for a major press conference to introduce the new governor.

She had helped set things up to her exact specifications the night before but as a true pro, she got to the venue extra early the morning of the event and was shocked to see that a group of six businessmen had completely dismantled the room and moved out all the risers, chairs and a/v equipment. They were sitting in the middle of this huge room, blithely claiming they had reserved it.

Thankfully, the banquet manager intervened, moved the group to the room they had actually reserved, and frantically set up the room again, just prior to a horde of reporters arriving!

One More Thing

You can’t control everyone else or foresee every possible disaster. But you do have control over yourself.

Never take the last flight out at night when you have to be at a meeting the next morning.

You will definitely get that sick feeling if your plane is canceled and you miss your presentation.

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