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The Easiest Way to Avoid a Technology Disaster When You Present.

You have the BEST EVER (insert techy thing here) for your presentation.

Perhaps it’s a…GIF riddled powerpoint with fancy transitions, musical segway, dancing cat video, 3-D display of “fancy new” product… maybe even a robot.

There’s NO WAY you can do your presentation without it.

It has to be there.

(I can see your face beaming with pride over said techy thing).

You’ve prepared well.

You’ve double, triple; quadruple checked the technology. You had the tech guy check. Your assistant checked. Heck, you even had the janitor to check because it was that important.

You check it again.

It’s GO time.

You’re moving along pumped to get to your techy thing because you know everyone will love it.

The moment arrives.

You click the button and…



You click again.


Your mouth goes dry.

Click. Click.

Click. Click. Click.


Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

You look up and say give me just a minute, with an awkward laugh.

Papers rustle.

You start plugging and unplugging cords so you look like you’ve got things under control.

Click. Click…Click…Click…


You thank the group for waiting.

(Bill from accounting gets to up try to “assist.”)

You clear your throat and ask “Does anyone know where the IT guy is?”

The group starts chattering to themselves, checking phones, getting up and walking out.

Sweat trickles down your face and you mumble…

“Uh, OK guys, we’re going to come back to that because it’s really important, I want you to see it and Bill’s working on it right now.”

(poor Bill, his accounting skills can’t save you now)

You get through the rest of your material feeling like crap.  

Your presentation fell apart because of technology you just had to have because it was SO.GOOD.

Has this ever happened to you?

We have a love/hate relationship with technology. We love it because it makes us feel cool when it works and we hate it when it fails.

Listen, I know you love videos.

(I do too)

I know your slide transitions make you feel like you’re keeping your people interested.

(they’re not)

I know you want to show the people you’re talking to how much you know and care about making it interesting for them.

(you do)

But you’re not doing yourself or anyone else any favors by setting yourself up to fail with technology that isn’t necessary.

The easiest way to avoid a technology disaster during your presentation is to leave it out.

(I heard you gasp. Breathe. It’s going to be OK).

Leaving technology out prevents disaster and allows you to engage with your group.

The people who are listening to you want to engage with you. They want to learn and contribute to your topic.

Think about it; some of the most engaging presentations, talks, pitches, speeches etc. have involved you in some way.

So, how do we leave out the technology and get people involved?

Here are three ideas to get you started;

1.) Ask a question.

Humans are hard-wired to answer questions when we hear them. Plan to ask your group a few questions. You’ll be able to tell if they’re keeping up with your content and you’ll gain new insights on your material.

2.) Give a direction.

Use directions to grab attention (write this down), get the group to participate with each other (tell the table) or even give them a break.

3.) Use an activity.

Research shows adults learn best by doing. Plan an activity that helps your group interact with each other and your material. Role play, problem-solving, creative tasks are great places to start.

The next time you’re tempted to use technology in your next presentation, try one of these techniques instead.

You, your group (and Bill from accounting) will be better for it.


What do you do to make your presentations more engaging?

Drop a comment below and share your best tip with us!

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