How to Recover From a Technical Problem During a Presentation

These days technology makes it possible to give a speech, sales presentation, or run a meeting from anywhere in the world.  In-person presentations can also be amped up with soundtracks, video footage, viral clips, and compelling slideshows.  There’s no doubt technology has had a significant impact on the way we present. However, what happens when technology fails?  You could be left in complete disarray as your audience awaits in awkward silence as you fumble around trying to pick up the pieces.  Don’t let a technical glitch ruin your presentation.  Here are a few tips for saving your presentation when technology fails you.

Know Your Contact

Whenever you are giving a presentation that is going to utilize technology, it is a good idea to get to know your IT contact ahead of time.  Should technology fail, you will need to get in touch with someone as quickly as possible.  You should have a phone number for your IT contacts on hand so you can reach them to resolve the problem.  It is also wise to give them a heads up that you will be presenting and you might need to reach them if a problem arises.

Stay Calm

You are probably already anxious about your presentation and when technology fails you it can be overwhelming.  You might be tempted to lose your cool, but your best bet is to stay calm and collected.  This conveys to the audience that you can work well under pressure and that you are prepared to handle the presentation regardless of the technical glitch.  If you happen to experience a technical problem while leading a webinar, it is equally important to watch what you say.  Your audience might not be able to see you but they might still be able to hear you.  It’s always best to keep calm and carry on.

Don’t Rely on Slides

Many people create slideshows as a way to present their material.  If, however, you experience a technical problem and your slides cut out, the show must go on.  That’s why it is so important that you know your presentation through and through.  You don’t want to rely so heavily on the slides that you find yourself stuck without them.  If you are well-prepared and knowledgeable about your material, you can seamlessly continue your presentation even if you don’t have the flashy slides to back you up. You want to be able to keep your audience engaged while the tech gurus fix the problem.

Have a Backup Plan

You never know when technology might fail you so it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan.  Keep notecards close by.  Have an outline of your presentation on hand. Rehearse a few lines beforehand as if you experience technical difficulties.  Technical blunders don’t have to be the death of your presentation.  Be prepared, stay sharp, and have a backup plan in place in case the worst happens.

Use a Quick Recovery Line

When you deliver a presentation, there are a number of things that can go wrong. The slides can go blank, the microphone cuts out, the clicker stops working, your video doesn’t play.  Great speakers have what is known as “saver lines” locked and loaded and ready to use at a moment’s notice.  Prepare a few of these lines in advance and even rehearse them.  You never know when you might need to pull them out of your back pocket.