Category Archives: PowerPoint

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

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I ‘m looking forward to attending a couple of daylong conferences this spring.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend tons of conferences during my life, going back to the International Radio and Television Society gathering in New York City when I was a callow, wide-eyed sophomore at the University of Alabama. Several Country Radio Seminars in Nashville during my radio days provided good information and insights, along with many memorable musical performances.

More recently, I have attended numerous PR/marketing/digital/social media conferences in St. Louis arranged by a variety of organizations over the last eight years. At this point, let me offer thanks to all who worked to set up these events. And thanks to all who have presented. (This includes me. I presented at CSPRC’s Spectrum event in 2009 about media pitching and in 2013 about Facebook best practices.)

Here’s what I want from these events:

  1. Information and ideas I can use today in my career and my business.
  2. New ideas/concepts that should be on my radar for future consideration.
  3. Different, creative ways to approach issues I deal with on a frequent basis.
  4. Disruptive input, which may or may not be valid, but provides good fodder for discussion and consideration.
  5. Solid A/V work.
  6. Connectivity.
  7. Decent coffee.

Things I don’t want from these events:

  1. Presentations that are really just infomercials for an individual and his/her organization.
  2. Big picture concepts that are too vague. Give me precise details.
  3. Panels discussions dominated by one panelist, when all panelists have good input to share.
  4. Declarations I’ve heard at these events for years, such as: Mobile is big! Video keeps growing! LinkedIn is good! (Etc.) I know that!
  5. PowerPoints, Keynotes or Prezis with text and images so small the content on the screen can’t be discerned beyond the first row.
  6. Bad planning that puts a high-demand session in a smaller meeting room.
  7. Stick-on name tags that don’t adhere well to clothing.

If you see me at a conference this spring, say hello. Let’s hope we’re able to get several actionable takeaways when we attend these events!

(photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/92987904@N00/4297743712, via http://photopin.com, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0)

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What To Do When Technology Fails You

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How many times have you seen it happen? You’re at a presentation and the PowerPoint doesn’t work. Or the projector doesn’t work. Or the wireless mike doesn’t work. Or the video doesn’t play. Or there’s feedback on the audio system.

Things happen. Sometimes there’s someone to blame. Sometimes there are equipment failures. Sometimes you didn’t bring the right connector. It doesn’t matter. Technology has failed. If it fails you, what can you do?

  1. Be cool. If your PowerPoint screws up, don’t worry. If your remarks are compelling enough, you probably don’t really need the PowerPoint. Rather than spend a huge portion of your allotted time trying to make it work, just deliver the presentation without it.
  2. Learn to project your voice. If you are going to speak before groups of people, you should be able to make yourself heard by the person sitting farthest away, without amplification. Not by yelling, but by talking louder and projecting.
  3. Video in a presentation is a tricky proposition even if everything works properly. Anything more than a short clip may get tedious for the audience in a hurry. But if you insist on including video in your presentation, be ready to describe the entire content of the video if it doesn’t play. That’s what TV newscasters have done for decades when the film, the tape or a live feed doesn’t work.
  4. Focus on your main message points and don’t let tech failure ruin your presentation. At a luncheon a few years ago, a St. Louis consultant to non-profits had colossal tech issues. The PowerPoint was too small to be seen, the video took a long time to load and then it was almost inaudible. But she struggled through. Her message—that the best way to communicate to donors is with stories about the people who’ve benefited from your services—came through loud and clear (despite her many tech problems).
  5. See #1. Be cool. At a PRSA/St. Louis luncheon a couple of years ago, right after the panel discussion began, the power went out. Curtains were opened to let in some light and the program continued. Without microphones, without amplification, without technology. The panelists spoke loud enough to be heard throughout the room and the program moved along without a hitch.

Technology is wonderful. But be prepared to make accommodations when technology fails.

(During Summer 2015 I have been revisiting some earlier posts. This one was originally shared on April 30, 2012. A new article will be posted on September 14.)