So you're in an important meeting about to give a presentation. You're dressed sharply, feeling confident and ready to knock this out of the park. You open your laptop and… something’s gone wrong.
Your laptop's dead. Your presentation won’t load. The clicker doesn't work. Whatever it is, you feel a horrible knot forming in your stomach.
First, breathe my friend.
It's not the end of the world.
Actually, with technology at the centre of most meetings these days it's a type of stress we all need to learn to manage.
If you planned ahead (hopefully by reading this article) you will see that there are ways to keep your cool and make the most of this tight spot.
1. Don't waste time trying to fix the problem
Spending time trying to fix the problem is the quickest way to lose your audience's attention. Unless there is a simple fix, it's best to continue onwards with the presentation. The more time your audience has to wait, the less likely they are to be impressed by what you have to say.
2. Have a backup plan
Instead of trying to fix whatever technological issue you've come across, have a backup plan.
This could be as low-fi as having a copy of your presentation on a flash drive so that you can plug it into another computer quickly, or as advanced as having your presentation instantly accessible on an alternative device so you can just use your tablet or phone to present from instead.
3. If a product demonstration is part of your presentation - NEVER rely on the internet.
Even Steve Jobs fell prey to this one. If you must give a product demonstration as part of your meeting, make a screen recording so you can show a demonstration even if the internet fails.
4. Your presentation is not your slides
Your slides are only there to support what you’re saying. They’re not an auto-cue for you to read from and they shouldn't distract from what you're saying.
If you’ve practised before the meeting and you know your subject matter you should have absolutely no problem winging it without being able to project your slides. Grab the backup copy you have stored on your phone and knock 'em out with your confident delivery instead.
5. Stay calm
Keeping calm is the most important thing you can do if this situation happens to you. Do your best not to look stressed out or worried.
If you stay relaxed, you should be able to transition easily into your backup plan or pick it up without losing anyone in the meeting. Panicking signals that you’re not confident and can’t speak authoritatively about your product or service without assistance.
Hopefully, you never find yourself in this position. But, if you do, know that there are ways to handle it professionally and with poise.