Below, some very sound advice on how to keep your next speech from being derailed by a tech trainwreck.
My take? People want to hear your message. Not the piddly in-the-moment travails and frustrations that won’t amount to anything in half an hour, but your message.
You can do everything right: rehearse the presentation with the setup, have a local backup ready to run if the Internet connection didn’t work, and so on. But for whatever reason, sometimes the AV system will have none of it.
The real solution to technical glitches like this, which still happen all too often, isn’t technical. It’s much more fundamental: being prepared to abandon the technological side of the presentation, and fall back to the thing that really matters — your story, told clearly and well.
Originally posted on Key Messenger:
Recently I attended a luncheon speech by a senior executive from one of the world’s leading technology firms. I even sat next to be guest speaker. During lunch, his colleague indicated that the presentation had technological issues: the file wouldn’t speak to the laptop, which was angry at the projector from a different generation (my paraphrasing).
“Oh well”, said the speaker. Someone had to figure this out.
Being a communications trainer, I mentioned that slides and video, while wonderful, were not essential for a great talk. I joked that Martin Luther King never used PowerPoint; I had seen Margaret Thatcher in Parliament and she hadn’t relied on slides…
By the middle of the main course, the guest speaker turned to me:
“Wouldn’t it be funny if the guy from a major tech company couldn’t get the audio-visual to work?”
I said don’t worry you’ll be fine. Tell us a good…
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Filed under: Uncategorized
If we tell them the truth, tell them that truth with a story, and tell that story with pictures, our presentations will be extraordinary.
‘Show and Tell’ Author Dan Roam Talks to Marketing Smarts
I’m a fan of Dan Roam’s. He delivered a fantastic presentation to the Nonprofit Technology Conference a few years ago (you can see my sketchnotes here). And his books The Back of the Napkin, Unfolding the Napkin and Blah Blah Blah are terrific guides to using simple pictures to do a dramatically better job of thinking and communicating.
Now his latest, Show and Tell, focuses specifically on presentations. For folks who are sick of stock-photo-laden PowerPoint decks and dense, meandering gabfests, this could be a life-saver. I can’t wait to read it.
Filed under: Presentation Design
I’ve been watching The Amazing Race reruns with the kids. I’m proud of the way they’re able to spot the often-patronizing (and that’s being charitable) attitude the show takes to the countries and cultures it encounters. It’s the ultimate whirlwind, see-the-sites, reduce-a-nation-to-a-simple-caricature vacation.
But I also enjoy the shit out of it, partly as I imagine myself conquering the challenges that trigger my own phobias (heights heights heights heights heights oh god the heights) and partly because of the chance to see people react to heavy pressure.
It isn’t the casual, tossed-off cruelty of, say, American Idol judges sneering at some poor shmuck with a dream that exceeds her or his talents. It’s character revealed under pressure, Robert McKee-style… and often revealed not just to the viewers, but to the players themselves. Moments of self-revelation are surprisingly rare in American TV, and I’ve been surprised at how many I’ve seen in TAR.
The invaluable Ian Griffin reports on a fantastic discovery by a Portland State University archivist:
a box of reel-to-reel recordings of campus speeches by figures such as LSD advocate Timothy Leary, Robert F. Kennedy speaking a few short weeks before his assassination, Nobel prize-winner Linus Pauling speaking on the effects of radioactive fallout a few months before the Cuban Missile crisis, and poet Allan Ginsberg.
And PSU has obligingly digitized them and posted them online. (I resent this just a little bit, because it costs me an excuse to go to Portland. Breakfast at Tasty n Sons, a day of listening to great speeches and an evening at Powell’s, anyone..?)
As exciting as it can be to read a great speech, they’re intended to be heard — making this find a thrilling one for speechwriters.
Filed under: Speeches Tagged: archives, ian griffin, library, portland state university
Doodle of the day: Things you don’t want to see on the screen in front of your seat.
Doodle of the day: Like ants. In the sense of packed into tight, dark spaces.
Drawn during the final descent. We hit a little bump, my pen jerked, and that’s why that tablet looks ENORMOUS.
Doodle of the day, from today’s flight from Winnipeg.