It is important for the professional speaker to have flexibility. That flexibility will give confidence to the audience in the speaker.
I was giving a presentation in Manila to a group of publishers. About one-third of my way through the presentation my computer crashed. (I learned later that the battery have become dislodged and was only partially inserted and thus couldn’t hold a charge). Good preparation standards on the part of the organizers required that I send them a copy of my presentation. They had a volunteer on hand to assist the speakers.
After less than 10 seconds of looking at the black screen we realized it would take minutes if not 10s of minutes to reboot the computer. I gave her a quick, “Use the backup” literally under my breath and turned to the audience and continued, sans slides. Remember when there were no slides? And when we drew pictures with words instead of showing visuals?
Less than 5 minutes later she had the backup PC plugged into the projector and my backup slides (albeit a previous version) up on the screen and I continued on as if nothing had happened.
The incident showed up in my audience feedback. “The speaker was able to continue on in spite of technical difficulties.” Or words to that affect.
I was also able to give confidence to my audience when demonstrating my ability to be flexible.
What would you do if your computer crashed part way through your presentation and a reboot was out of the question?
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