This started as a thread on how to cope up with a dead laptop or projector in front of your audience, and what you should do to be prepared — here are Danny’s thoughts:
Yes, this has happened to me on several occasions. I have had my laptop “die on me” twice during an Advanced “Hands-on” Excel Class.
Lesson Learned: Always use a portable laptop fan — laptops throw off a lot of heat! The portable fans run off of a USB port and you can get a model that folds up and is easy to put into your bag. I have had projectors “die on me” also — they do wear out / misfunction. My philosophy is, “It is not a question of IF the equipment fails, it is a question of WHEN the equipment fails.” What do you do to recover? Here is my own preparation list:
- Always travel with a backup copy of your presentation — I use USB drives.
- Always include a “Package for CD” copy of the presentation — I keep this on the USB drive — this comes in handy when you need to use the client’s computer and they do not have the version of PowerPoint that you used to create the presentation.
- Always travel with a clean copy of your handout — can be copied and distributed if the original is lost or you require extra copies.
- Always travel with a “3 prong into 2 prong” power connector — when the client has an “ungrounded” 2 prong wall connector.
- Always travel with a 12 ‘ extension cord and a 6 prong adaptor — you may need to adjust the table for your laptop or projector.
- Always travel with your own wireless “clicker” — connected by USB.
- Always travel with your own digital clock — big enough for you to see and adaptable to various lighting conditions.
- It goes without saying – “Always OWN your content. YOU are the presentation. The equipment simply helps you to make your presentation.”
I have also found that it is wise to spend less than 5 minutes trying to adjust faulty equipment. If possible, give your audience a short break while you try to fix equipment — find a file, etc. Your audience will be “on your side” when you continue the presentation without the equipment (if you could not fix it in five minutes).
I hope that this helps you to be prepared to respond when your equipment fails the next time.
Visit Danny’s site to get several more tips, including a separate section for PowerPoint users.