Never assume your presentation tech is going to work

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I watched painfully a few weeks ago as a workshop presenter struggled with getting her laptop to connect with the conference hotel’s projector. For whatever reason, it never connected despite two different tech support people helping her. As about 50 people in the audience watched, she opened up her college email, emailed the presentation to herself, shut down her computer, opened up the loaner laptop brought in by tech support, signed into her email, downloaded the presentation, and opened it in PowerPoint. Half of the workshop was over and the presenter was very flustered to say the least.

While I felt sorry for the presenter, in some ways I did not. Despite giving a presentation on technology (I’m not joking here), she forgot one of the first rules of technology and presentations: the technology might not work. The presenter was not someone doing her first workshop, she was a veteran. She should have known better.

You should always assume your technology will not work when you are scheduled to do a presentation. How can you be prepared for this? I like to have my presentation in three locations: on my laptop, on a USB drive, and in the cloud. Since my laptop is a Macbook Pro and I use Keynote, the file I have on the USB drive is a PowerPoint copy. My cloud copy is on Microsoft Office online or Google Drive. If all this fails, I am mentally prepared to move ahead quickly using just my notes.

Wanting to show video clips is always great, but has the potential for even more issues. I prefer to have the video downloaded into my laptop and embedded in the presentation, but follow the same scheme as with the presentation. Personally, I have found Google Drive to be the best place to keep the backup copies of my video clips.

If all of this seems like overkill, perhaps you have not had the experience of struggling to get your tech to work while 50 or 100 people staring at you. If you have had that experience, you know it is one you want to avoid repeating for any reason.

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