Be prepared for everything to fail

Forget Ancient Rome, this is the golden age of public speaking. Even Google tells us so (see the video below)

We are truly blessed. We have Powerpoint, we have the Internet, we have the microphones and therefore we have the power to influence our audiences more than ever before.

But with great power comes great responsibility the opportunity for everything to fail.

I’d even go as far as to say (anecdotally) that at least 1 in 5 presentations experiences some kind of technical hiccup.

If we as speakers are to ensure that our message is not terminated by technology, then we need to be prepared for everything to fail.

Our preparation and rehearsal should always account for the ‘what ifs?’ and ensure we have solutions to even the greatest public speaking catastrophes.

(If you have a view on what the greatest public speaking catastrophe is, please send it in!)

Because if you can keep your head when all of the technology around you is breaking down, then you’ll be a man my son the memorable speaker, my son.

Here’s my checklist of catastrophes to account for when planning a speech – I’d love to hear your suggestions too:

  • Backup power supply for laptop
  • Spare bulb for projector
  • Handheld clicker to avoid any embarrassing ‘oops wrong slide’ gaffs
  • Printout of slides in case I have to deliver the talk without any slideshow behind me
  • A well written talk that makes sense without slides
  • Batteries (for microphones and clickers!)

Update (05/02/14)

Some more suggestions from social media guru @alukeonlife on Twitter:

  • Soluble aspirin and throat lozenges
  • HDMI, VGA cables and any relevant chargers
  • A safe version of slides: no transitions, fonts, clever stuff just images for each slide
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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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