Technology Trip Up

Written by Jeanne Meserve

March 13, 2018

Ironic. Humiliating. Unprofessional.

Those are a few words describing the crash and burn of a recent speech.

A bigwig from a tech firm was giving remarks…and tech tripped him up.

He was using slides, and embedded in his deck was a video, clearly made at considerable expense.

But it didn’t play.

He looked around the room.  No staffers were in sight.  While organizers of the event rounded them up, he tried to resolve the problem by clicking back, and then forward.

The video played, but the audio and video were out of sync.

He tried again.

This time the audio and video matched up…but the audio level was too low for the audience to hear.

He was about to abandon the effort, when his staff skittered into the room and jimmied with the computer.

The video played properly…at last.

The speaker was humiliated…and a bit peeved.  His remarks lost momentum.  His audience was distracted.  I don’t remember a thing he talked about.  This is what stuck with me: the irony of seeing technology trip up a man who develops and sells it.

90 percent of the information we process is visual, according to neuroscience.  That’s why slides and video can be great presentation tools.  A well-designed slide reinforces your words. Video introduces your audience to people, places and ideas that might otherwise in inaccessible.

But audiovisual systems have quirks.  They can malfunction…and often do.

Before you speak make sure your slides display properly.  Familiarize yourself with the clicker, and check its battery power.  Test any video in advance, to make sure it can be heard as well as seen.

Don’t delegate this check to someone else.  Do it yourself.  It’s your presentation, and you…like the tech titan…are the one who’ll be embarrassed if things go wrong.