Friday, April 22, 2011

Public Speaking - What to Do When Things Go Wrong

The first time I gave the full day seminar associated with my book I had a few MINOR problems. The sound man who had the mixing board, wireless microphone, and tape deck didn't show up. The videographer was delayed with a speeding ticket and showed up 10 minutes before the program was to start. That caused a 40-minute delay.

So what did I do? I dug into my NO ZZZZZs bag of tricks. I had a back-up, hand-held microphone with a long cord with me so I plugged it into the meeting room's sound system. One of the other presenters had a portable cassette player so we played the opening music on the cassette player and put the microphone in front of the speaker. It wasn't the best sound, but it got the job done. I had a good quality home-grade video camera there that was supposed to shoot secondary footage. It was just being moved to the main camera position when the video technician showed up.

Fifteen minutes into the program the video projector, an integral part of the program, conked-out. Since the projector was to be used throughout the day, something had to be done and done quickly. So what did I do this time? I did just as any really polished, unshakable, NO ZZZZZs presenter would do. . . . I told the audience to take a break and started scrambling to check out the projector. I determined that it was nothing that I could fix fast, so I made plans to bring in several monitors arranged as back-up. This was not as good as an 8-foot by 8-foot screen, but it would have to do. While I was checking out the video projector, one of the seminar participants was watching and overheard my decision to bring in the monitors. He said, "Listen, I've got a video projector at my office. I can go get it and have it set up in 20 minutes." He did, and I gave him a $90 audio tape album for his thoughtfulness.

These were obviously more than minor problems, but being prepared with back-up equipment and being in the room early enough to do something about the problems saved the day. A little help from a friendly participant didn't hurt either.

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