#TalkTips

30 tips in 30 days on writing and giving talks at conferences.

#TALKTIPS DAY 24: CONSPIRACY OF TECHNOLOGY

I swear sometimes, technology is conspiring to embarrass us. It works fine through every practice round, until the moment we're in a room full of people staring at us.

Sometimes I have recurring dreams about everything that could go wrong with a presentation and I wake up wondering why I didn't do this, or that as a solution. All in all, I've had a pretty good run with technology. I used to think forgetting to bring my computer would be the worst possible scenario until I did that. In my limited experience with technology challenges not having it is the least of the problem. The little things tend to be the bigger issue, like your slide-advance remote stops working, or you actually need your notes and you can't get them to show up on the presentation screen. Those are the things that knock you out of your presentation headspace.  

There's likely not a fail-proof tip to offer here, but I offer these bits:
Consider the little technology challenges, be as prepared as you can.

  • Bring your own slide advance remote if you use one, make sure the batteries are fresh.
  • Double check that you've got your computer power cord before you leave the house.
  • Think through "What would happen if this doesn't work" scenarios.
  • Practice enough you don't need the notes.
  • Remember that folks in the audience actually feel for you and are pretty understanding of technology challenges.
  • Smile, it'll be OK.