Three ways to plan for the unplannable in your virtual presentation

A friend of mine has an automobile that, despite being only a year and half old, has been in the shop an unacceptable number of times.  We just expect things like that to work (it’s not an old clunker, after all), but the reality is that life has a way of dealing a bum card sometimes.

We buy automobile insurance, too, for similar reasons.  But only because we plan for the unplannable.

When presenting virtually, you need to be prepared for the unexpected, too.  Even the most reliable platforms aren’t perfect.  It’s software, and it’s reality.

Don’t let the occasional bump in the road dissuade you from the immense benefit of connecting virtually.  In fact, with even the tiniest prep, you can be ready.

Have a printed copy of your slides

Over a decade I’ve seen presenters lose connectivity from downtown San Francisco because a backhoe cut through the fiber out in the street, had them lose power because of a hurricane, seen them come to a grinding halt because some news thing happened and everybody in the company ran to the web to watch news streams.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you’ll be happy for the old fashioned paper variety.

Plan with your peers

Just because YOU have a problem doesn’t mean that your fellow presenters or event moderator do.  Plan in advance how you’ll work off each others’ verbal clues.  Don’t waste everybody’s time complaining about technology.  Have them push your slides until you’re in the driver’s seat again.  Oh, and did I say have a printed backup?

Mentally switch to audio-only mode

VoIP is great, but it makes everybody’s computer the single point of failure.  Love it or leave it the POTS (plain old telephone system) is one of the most reliable things on the planet.  In a worst-case scenario, mentally switch to delivering your presentation verbally, making sure to describe things as you would in any other instance when you were on the phone with someone.  The picture on the slide might tell the story better than words alone, but that doesn’t mean you have to be dead in the water.

Life happens, including during web seminars.  Don’t get caught with your pants down.

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