Among the night terrors that afflict all those who speak in public, a sizeable one is having the projector break down. Indeed, it is already not easy to speak, but when the material abandons us the pressure can mount a notch very quickly. Fortunately, we spend more time worrying that it may happen, than it really does. On the other hand, if it becomes the case, how can you brilliantly confront the situation?
Becoming aware: beware of slides as a crutch!
It’s always a good exercise to imagine that the projector breaks down. Because even if it only happens very rarely, it enables you to put the role of your presentation where it should be. Indeed, if you use your slides as your notes support, or infamous “crutch slides,” you have mistaken your goal: the slides are not there for you, but for your audience. By creating slides for yourself, you put yourself in danger for two reasons: The first because you will absolutely need the slides to give your presentation; The second because you will steer your audience to reading your slides rather than listening to you. On the other hand, by building a visual aid for your audience, you’ll bring out the elements needed to understand and retain your key message. It is this complementary speaker-slide duo that increases your credibility and strengthens the impact of your presentation.
The broken projector is therefore more of problem for your audience than it is for you. Because, if you have prepared your performance, with your notes and your speech, you can do perfectly well without your slides.
Without a projector? Not even afraid!
Now that you know that you are capable, the fact remains that you’ll have to start. To do it, there are two options:
The first: distribute your printed handout before your speech.
This option, while interesting, can be of great disservice to you. Indeed, the audience may advance at its own pace in the presentation, not yours. While you are calmly talking about the idea of slide 4, your audience is already on slide 14 or 15. You lose all the consistency and the attention span of your audience. It’s always preferable to distribute the speech at the end of a presentation, so that your audience leaves with all the key messages.
The best option remains to start without slides.
To start without slides requires you to pause a few moments before re-transcribing the main ideas. Hence the importance of having structured the presentation beforehand. It is always an impressive experience to launch into your speech without aids when you’re used to presenting with visual aids. Not only will you get to the heart of the subject faster, but you will also realize that many slides become useless when you’re really focused on the story.
As we mentioned some time ago, the more we are ready, the more we can react to any circumstances. This is the strength of a method like the HUBSTORY®: when the ideas are clear, the impact is always there… with or without slides.