Sometimes Preparation Isn’t Enough

Experience matters

Two days. Two presentations. Two technology hiccups.

The first day, we had a speaker with laptop displaying power point slides. She did her preparation: showed up early, got her equipment all set up, but when her speech started, both devices had gone to sleep, so we spent the first minute or so of her speech waking up devices and trying to get them to find one another. Then, since she had some clever transitions programmed into the slides, her handheld controller had problems advancing the slides – sometimes. It distracted from an otherwise excellent presentation.

The second day, the speaker wanted to record his speech. He did his preparation: showed up early, brought his own camera, found a safe location for it, set it up so that it was properly aligned, and found a person to operate the camera. Unfortunately, the operator didn’t practice using the camera, and nothing was recorded.

What went wrong? Both had excellent preparation – but they didn’t do a “dry run.” Experience is a dear teacher, and some things can only be learned the hard way. And it’s better to get that experience during a dry run rather than in production.

So our first speaker could have disabled the power saver – just to make sure nothing changed between the time of her setup and her live presentation. A dry run at home with the handheld controller would have shown her how her slide transitions would affect her presentation.

Our second speaker could have had a dry run with the assistant actually operating the camera to ensure everything would record properly. This would allow a sound and light test as well.

90% is showing up – early. Use that extra preparation time to do a dry run. Proper planning prevents poor performance!