January 7, 2014

Technology is a luxury, not a necessity

Via ABC News
By now, you've probably seen the short video of Michael Bay walking off the stage at Samsung's Consumer Electronics Show. In short, the teleprompter stopped working, he got flustered, and took off. I'm not posting it here because I think Bay has suffered enough from replays of the video, and of course, you can find it all over the web.

Forbes posted an article titled, "What Michael Bay's Meltdown at Samsung Can Teach Us," with four tips for what to do when you get flustered on stage.

I've just got one tip for you, which precludes all the others: Prepare for your technology to fail.

Understand that anything requiring cables, cords, power sources, monitors, on/off switches or pixels might stop working.

Prepare your presentation as though these devices and electronics are luxuries, not necessities.

I don't know how much preparation went into Michael Bay's presentation, and I'm not going to assume he was unprepared; let's just say he was really nervous.

However, if you want to avoid his fate, here's what YOU will do to prepare.

1. Know your material inside and out.

You should be able to talk about your topic, conversationally and without notes. Notes are great, and I always have them on the side, but if I forget my notes, I still know my topic. I could talk for an hour straight about any aspect of public speaking, and you should be able to do the same regarding your topic.

In this case, the Executive Vice President of Samsung was onstage with Bay, and was actually prompting him and trying to help him talk about his topic conversationally. Bay couldn't do it.

You MUST be able to do this.

2. Consider technology "nice to have" rather than "must have."

If your computer dies or isn't compatible with the projector, if the projector bulb burns out, if your teleprompter croaks, your presentation still must continue.

Slides and technology are nice, but humans have been giving presentations for centuries without them, and if you are relying on your slides or your monitor to tell you what to say, you will be unpleasantly surprised if something goes wrong.

3. Practice.

This one should go without saying, but unfortunately, too many speakers don't take the time to practice. The previous two tips are meaningless if you haven't taken the time to stand up and deliver your presentation out loud. Several times.

Bottom line: It's all about showing your audience you value and care about them. Technology cannot do the work for you. You must show up, be present, be prepared and be willing to face the audience without your slides, without your teleprompter, and without the crutch of monitors and screens. The show must go on.

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3 comments. Please add yours! :

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Rob, I am kind of assuming he was unprepared, but as I have no idea what his prep looked like, I have nothing to base it on. Some speakers *think* they're prepared and they're just not prepared in the right way. And some aren't prepared at all. Some are prepared but don't know how to go with the flow. Lots of lessons from this one, though!

YourWebinarGuru said...

I appreciate how you approached this Lisa!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks, Corena!

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