Issue #120 October 17, 2006

PowerPoint Tip – Equipment Failure

If you are going to use PowerPoint to present, at some point in time you will have to deal with the equipment failing. You may not have had this happen to you yet, but you will. Even though the equipment is far more reliable than it was when I started presenting with computers and projectors over 10 years ago, it is not perfect. And I like to say that it is not a matter of “if” you will experience equipment failure, it is only a matter of “when”. That’s why I am doing a webinar this Thursday on handling problems during your presentation. The most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what happens, you need to keep going. The audience is there to hear your message and they expect you to deliver it no matter how many equipment problems occur. This means that you should be mentally and physically prepared to deal with various types of failures, from projectors to computers to sound systems and every other component you use. I have had my equipment fail a number of times, two I’d like to share today. The first time was when my laptop died on the first slide of a two day workshop. And it wasn’t coming back alive any time soon (the cooling fan failed and it fried the motherboard). I was able to continue until a colleague delivered another laptop at lunch because I had a handout that I used to continue teaching. I always use a handout and I’ll explain on the webinar how to create one that can serve not only as a valuable reference for your audience, but also save your bacon when equipment fails. The second failure was when my system started acting strangely during a conference presentation. I followed the steps to see if I could get it back again and fortunately it did come back after step 4, the last step before you abandon the technology all together. In both cases, not a single evaluation from the participants even mentioned the equipment problems. They won’t remember the problems if you deal with them well and deliver what you promised. It is like I heard an airline pilot say before the safety announcement that many of us have heard way too many times before. He asked everyone to pay attention, even if they had heard it many times before because “It is better to know it and not need it than need it and not know it.” I feel the same about being prepared for equipment failure. If you want to be on the webinar or be the first to get the recording, sign up at .