I think at some point everyone becomes aware of what is known as Murphy’s Law. But just in case you’ve spent your whole life living under a rock, here is the gist of Murphy’s Law: anything that CAN go wrong, WILL go wrong. Now whoever this Murphy guy was, I’m fairly certain he didn’t craft a specific set of laws for presenters or facilitators. So I decided to give it a shot.
Now I have personally experienced everything on this list. And even though I make light of those moments here, I can’t stress this enough: they were NOT funny when they happened! So consider this my effort to contribute to the development and professionalism of my fellow presenters and facilitators. I hope this helps!
- That powerpoint that you saved to your USB drive and checked before you left the house? It WILL mysteriously disappear when you plug the drive into the computer set up for you at your presentation. So triple check your USB drive AND bring your own computer as a backup!
- You know that sturdy easel that’s guaranteed to support your flip chart paper? Well one leg WILL begin to slowly collapse as soon as you start writing. No, it’s not your imagination, you are bending over more each time you turn around to write. So piece of advice: if the easel you are thinking of using has little strings that hold together flimsy aluminum tubes (not sturdy steel), RUN! Run as fast as you can!
- You know the handout you printed out and made sure looked all professional? Well somehow page 7 WILL inexplicably disappear. This doesn’t make any sense because you are sure it was there when you printed it out! But it must have escaped somewhere during the journey from the printer to the copier. You’ll most likely find it on the floor of your office the day AFTER your presentation. So stand over the copy machine and COUNT each page as it is fed into the machine! Quality control means you periodically spot check the copies as they are produced!
- Speaking of copying, are you running behind on your way to your presentation? Well if you are, the copier WILL jam and the toner cartridge WILL leak. And when you call the Xerox office they WILL only have ONE person manning the phones. And your home wireless connection WILL also fail so you won’t be able to print there either. So take my advice, and copy and print early! As early as humanly possible!
- Remember that powerpoint presentation I mentioned earlier? Well you finally managed to get it up and running and somehow the clicker has decided to stop working! And yes, you didn’t realize for a good 15 minutes. And no, the audience wasn’t just looking at you weirdly for no reason. They were wondering why you kept pointing back at that one slide that never moved. So make sure you check the batteries in your clicker! And if you’re using someone else’s equipment, make sure you’re pointing the clicker in the right direction!
Well there you have it! A few of my terrible experiences presenting to large groups of people! If you have any similar horror stories, please share them! I’ll share part II in my next post.
My name is Charles Weathers. And I’m the founder of the Weathers Group. If you’re in need of a facilitator, speaker, or presenter please give us a call. We promise, we’ve learned our lessons! You WON’T have to worry about any of the aforementioned challenges!