These days we are all heavily reliant on technology in every day life, whether it’s our smart phones, tablets or laptops. So it’s become a huge fear if technology fails.
It’s been estimated that the number of smartphone users in the UK reached about 87% in 2020 and 92% of adults have a mobile phone within arm’s reach 24 hours a day (source: statistica.com).
Delivering a presentation is no different, we mostly rely on technology to present our message, especially since the 2020 pandemic when so much business moved to virtual. But what happens if your laptop crashes at a vital moment in your presentation? Or you get to the venue and their projector is faulty? And what if the wifi connection is poor, or drops? Or your head has a cat filter on it? (“I’m not a cat!“)
Obviously you’d be prepared to go forward! Right?
What can we do when technology fails?
Even the most experienced presenter will be slightly shaken, but if you are well prepared you should be able to soldier on.
Here are 6 handy tips to make sure that you can carry on if technology fails you down on the day….
1. Back up your work
This one is so important. If you have saved your slides onto a flash drive, or backed it up onto Google drive or Dropbox you will still be able to access your work if a spare laptop is available.
2. Know your material
You should ALWAYS run through your presentation in advance to ensure that you know your content inside out, and can answer any questions from the audience. If you have practiced and know the content in detail, you shouldn’t be left speechless if you are faced with the dreaded blank screen!
If are presenting virtually via video – and your wifi is kicking out fumes, then you can always stop your video and just present with audio. We repeat: know your material.
3. Print out your notes
If you end up unable to view your slide set for any reason, you will at least have a hard copy of your notes as a reminder of what comes next. You could also print handouts for your audience and distribute these if necessary. See above if your video feed fails – you’ll need your notes for the audio only version for sure!
4. Have a hotspot ready…!
Using your mobile phone as a hotspot for a back up laptop is a good plan B. There may not be as much wifi as you need, but it should give you enough juice to carry on talking…
5. Use other technology
Most people now have smart phones and tablets as well as their trusty laptop. It’s worth making sure you can access your presentation on a tablet just in case your laptop fails you on the day.
6. Stay calm
Above all else don’t panic! Apologise to your audience, take deep breaths and revert to your notes.
And finally. Just be happy to go forward. Yes it’s annoying, but it’s (unlikely to be) the end of the world.