Master Your Message Blog

How to Avoid Onstage Convention Catastrophe

I’ve been a director for countless corporate conventions filled with speaker after speaker. Some of them are real pros and some of them  … are not. And you can tell just by the way they treat the crew. There are conventions … at conventions – things you should do as a presenter … before you go on.

One convention is to give the director or technician a script of your talk, complete with a list of visuals on the left hand side. If you’re really classy, you’ll provide a print-out of the visuals themselves, but a script with a word description on the left works just as well.

Why would you do this? – provide a script, that is?

Several reasons.

  1. Stuff happens. I’ve seen computers crash and I’ve seen presentation software crash. And even if there’s a backup computer, it takes at least a few minutes to get back to where you’re supposed to be.
    Now, if the director or technician has a script and list of visuals, they’ll actually know where you’re supposed to be and they’ll get you back on track just as fast as they can … guaranteed. If they don’t have a script, you’re on your own. And it’s lonely on stage when you’re on your own.
  2. If you’re at all nervous about using a remote to click through your own screens or just want to concentrate on your performance and not worry about it, you can trust the crew to do it for you. But I caution you that you should rehearse this beforehand.
  3. If there isn’t the option for rehearsal time with the crew, providing a script marked with dots for slide changes, along with printouts of visuals (numbered the same as the dots on the script) is about as bullet-proof as you can get. Audio-visual technicians provide this support all the time and so you shouldn’t feel nervous about their ability to pay attention and follow through.

Also let them know about any audio or video within your file so they can check the audio levels. And, if you have a DVD or CD get it to the crew the day before the event, so they can review it and catch any potential problems before they happen.

You want them on your side. If they are, chances are, they’ll make you a star you deserve to be!

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