When Technology Fails: 5 Tips to Save Your Presentation

When organizing a presentation, one must always ask the question, “What could go wrong?” The visions of worst-case scenarios in our minds can be frightening, hilarious, or both. Nevertheless, we have a job to do and a message to get across to our audience.

A lot of details often go into planning a presentation—from the content to the technology that supports it. While the presentation may be a one-person show, colleagues and partners play significant roles making sure things run smoothly. No matter how tight your set-up is or how prepared you are, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong.

Anything can happen during a presentation. You can never be too ready. However, with wireless presentations, you’re working with multiple devices and audiences from various locations and time zones. Technology is critical to support everyone across barriers because it’s the technology that brings people together. Therefore, there should be contingency plans to ensure not all is lost when technology fails.

Here are 5 tips to help you salvage your wireless presentation:

  1. Dress Rehearsal. Coordinate with IT on a date/time the day before or the morning of the presentation to run through your presentation set-up. This is an opportunity to perform system checks for Wi-Fi, security and network access to the wireless presentation. You may want to ask one remote colleague to also participate in the dress rehearsal to make sure external connections work as well.
  2. Communication Chain. Depending on the number of people and locations participating in the presentation, create a phone/contact chain. Should technology fail, you need to get in touch with everyone as to the next steps. Whether you’ll need to reschedule or change platforms, make sure you have at least a phone number for each person or team lead. This is especially important for those colleagues or partners who work remotely.
  3. Rain Date. When coordinating the presentation, be sure to schedule a “rain date” using the necessary resources, including the conference room and equipment. When you schedule the presentation date, also have this date set on the calendar.
    Should anything go wrong and you’re unable to bring participants back together, all participants will know there’s another meeting set. If all goes well, you simply need to cancel the “rain date” to make resources available to those who need it.
  4. Documents in Advance. If possible, share your slides or any necessary documentation with participants before the presentation. This could be in the form of a hard copy handout or electronic files. If there is a technical issue that prevents you from moving forward with the presentation, at least your team members will have information readily available.
  5. Record Presentation/Webinar. If you’re unable to reschedule your presentation for everyone, a great option is to record the presentation for team members to review on their own time. Invite them to join you live.

However, by recording and saving the presentation, you create a new document that can be archived and act as a reference. The interaction of a live presentation may be lost, but there are ways to make recorded presentations just as interactive.

Technology fails can be stressful for the host and the participants. Certainly, your IT team should be on hand to lend support. However, by having contingency plans set, you can be better prepared to handle the issues.

What are some ways you’ve saved your wireless presentation? Share your tips with us in the comments!

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