How to handle technology failure when presenting

While presentation tools and devices have come a long way, presenters can still encounter technological problems and glitches when delivering a speech. No matter how long you spend preparing and rehearsing beforehand, there’s no guarantee that technology will run smoothly on the day. 

From issues with the screen or projector, to outdated computers or unresponsive clickers, there’s a small chance that you might not be able to show your slides during your speech. 

But don’t worry, all is not lost! 

Over the years, we’ve delivered hundreds of presentations and we’ve had our fair share of technology disasters. Here are 4 important lessons we’ve learned along the way: 

Hand showing ok sign

4 Ways to deal with technology mishaps

1. Make sure you have as many backups as possible –  without carrying 3 laptops and 2 projectors around!

Always send a copy of your presentation to the event organiser beforehand. That way if you spill your morning coffee all over your laptop, there will be a backup copy of your slides waiting for you.

Remember to also save your presentation onto an external USB drive. For Prezi just export an offline version via the Prezi desktop application. If you’re a PowerPoint user, simply drag and drop your deck onto the USB drive.

As an extra backup, save everything to the cloud in whichever drive you tend to use.

2. Practice your presentation without the slides.

Think of your presentation as a conversation with your audience. If you have a clear idea of the key message and you know your story well, you’ll feel more comfortable and confident delivering your presentation, even without the visuals. It might seem a little old school but there’s no harm in creating some simple cards with key points on to help guide you through your talk. You don’t want to be seen reading from them word for word, but if tech has failed you, at least these will ensure you do cover all of the key points.

Whatever technology glitches you may face before or during a presentation, just maintain your composure and continue your speech. Having a few anecdotes up your sleeve can help, too.

3. When something technical goes wrong, just power through it. 

You don’t need to tell people that you’re having technical issues unless it’s glaringly obvious. Keep cool as chances are you may be able to fix things without them even noticing anyway. And if they do, remember the audience is on your side and they want to see you succeed.  

Sometimes we hear presenters saying ‘Oh, that image shouldn’t appear now’ or ‘Oh, I don’t know why that’s happening’. But guess what? If you hadn’t just mentioned it, your audience would be oblivious to the mistake.

Now if your laptop catches fire mid presentation, that’s pretty obvious to all that you should evacuate the building!

4. Keep calm and keep presenting!

Whatever technology glitches you may face before or during a presentation, just maintain your composure and continue your speech. Having a few anecdotes up your sleeve can help, too. Take a deep breath and remember you’ve got this! YOU are the presenter AND the presentation. The slides are only a visual aid that enhances and supports the story. 

Ultimately, what matters the most is that you deliver a clear message that inspires and resonates with the audience. You can always offer to send over the slides to anyone interested after the event.

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If you’d like to discuss your presentation needs, email us at info@theprezenter.com to arrange a free consultation.