You're standing in front of the senior management team, ready to present your business plan. You try opening your presentation on your laptop but it doesn't work the file won't open. You didn't bother making a hard copy because everything was supposed to run smoothly. But it didn't... 

We're surrounded with many new technologies and tools to assist us with our presentations. Projectors, interactive whiteboards, presentation software, VCRs, DVD players and laptops should make our lives easier. These technologies can make presentations more efficient, professional and polished. However, things can also go wrong in a hurry and if you're unprepared your audience may wonder if they can find the nearest escape route!

Here's some tips to help you avoid techno-terrors:

Plan for the Future
Don't leave it to the last minute to book any AV equipment you'll need for your presentation. Organizers will typically send an equipment request form to you before an event. Don't leave out any details if you need a Zip drive, let them know. Also, bring any cables you will need don't just assume they will be there. If you plan to bring any of your own equipment, confirm its compatibility with any other tools you intend to use. Having all of your equipment booked and ready to go will be much more enjoyable than frantically searching for a projector with your presentation about to start.

The Support Group
If something does go wrong, it's important to know who to talk to. Event organizers will have the contact information for technical support staff. Identifying the right person to talk to could save your presentation.

Know Your Tools
It is extremely important to know your equipment inside and out. Arrive early to the room in which you're presenting and ensure everything is working properly. If this is not possible, organizers will often have a speaker's room available for this purpose. Open up your presentation and run through it. Is the audio loud enough? What is the best lighting for my presentation? How loud should I speak? Arriving early will enable you to catch any technical problems that could disrupt your presentation.

Making Copies
Sometimes things go terribly wrong and there is no chance of fixing the problem. If this happens, being prepared pays off. Always have a back-up copy of your presentation on disk in case something goes wrong with the original. Also, make hard copies of your presentation to pass around if necessary. This limits the chance of disaster if the technology shuts down.

Practice Makes Perfect
Practice using the presentation technology until you feel comfortable. Know the slide advances and be able to present to the audience without reading off the screen. If you do experience technology troubles, try not to lose your momentum. See if you can fix the problem but don't take longer than 60 seconds. The audience doesn't want to watch you try to fix your laptop. Remember, you should stand out in the presentation, not the technology! 

Read meeting dilemmas solved by the Meeting Guru.



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