It’s every presenter’s worst nightmare…you step on stage to begin your presentation when you realize that your computer is not working due to technical difficulties. While technology is certainly an incredible means for enhancing a presentation, we have to accept the reality that technology is not fool-proof. Therefore, when organizing your presentation it’s important to ask yourself, “What could go wrong?” While the visions of worst-case scenarios can be frightening, it’s important that you develop a back-up plan just in case. There are a number of technical issues that can arise during a presentation but it doesn’t have to ruin your entire presentation. Here are a few tips for how you can use improv to power through your next technical failure.
Remember the Audience Doesn’t Care
It’s important to note that the audience showed up to hear the information you have to present and not to be amazed by your fancy slideshow. The presentation is about YOU! This means the presentation can go on with or without technology. Don’t waste time fretting over the technology and trying desperately to make it work. Instead, move right along with the information that you came to present.
Laugh It Off
It’s already a bummer that your slideshow isn’t working so don’t make the situation worse by harping on it. Have a sense of humor about it and let the audience share in the hilarity of the situation. When you get frazzled and apologetic, you are likely to lose credibility along with the audience’s interest. It’s much more impressive to see a speaker that can make light of technical mishaps and just keep on going.
Stay Focused on the Topic
Don’t talk about the technical problems any more than you have to. Forget about how technology has failed you and focus on delivering your message. Staying focused on the message without giving excuses shows that you are in complete control and is the mark of a true professional. This might be the most important factor in the audience’s impression of you.
Rehearse With AND Without Technology
It’s definitely important to practice speaking along with your slideshow, but it’s equally as important to prepare a presentation that doesn’t involve technology. You should always be prepared just in case a technical disaster does occur. If you have rehearsed your presentation without the technology, you will be able to move right along without missing a beat. It will also help to ease some of that pre-presentation anxiety knowing that you are prepared for any situation.