If you read Part 1 of this article, you learned why it’s important to have the right mindset around dealing with the unexpected. Now, let’s look at some specific scenarios you may need to face.

When was the last time disaster struck YOUR stage?

Are you happy with how you dealt with it?

No matter how well you prepare, it’s almost a certainty that things will go wrong at some point or another.

You know what I mean… the downstage monitor stops working so you can’t see your own slides, the projector goes dead, the fonts look really funky, the mic stops working, your animations are frozen, the power goes out, you poop your pants… 

Hey, any one of these could happen.  They are real issues!

Or... the fire alarm goes off! That's exactly what happened to Sara Frasca a few years ago at a conference in Nashville. I only know about this because one of our fellow members, Matt Lyles, sent me this last week:

I saw her speak in Nashville a couple of years ago, and  halfway through her talk the hotel fire alarm starts going off with an automated/repeated announcement for everyone to evacuate.

What was cool was that she remained calm while we thought we were actually evacuating. Once the client confirmed with the hotel that it was a false alarm, Sara kept going while trying to time pauses with the automated announcements. I thought she handled it masterfully. 

Matt is right. Sara handles this interruption with poise, professionalism, and composure. Sara puts the professional in professional speaker.

You can see how Sara handles the interruption at the 29:00 mark in the video above (the alarm and repeated announcement were much louder than the video implies, says Matt!)

Today, let’s look at ways you can mitigate the four main types of disasters: tech, performance, venue, and travel.  Be prepared for the next time disaster rears its ugly head.

I.  Technical Issues That Tank Your Speech

During your tech check, there are several things you can do to prepare yourself should any of the above things go wrong. First…

It’s vitally important that you learn your tech team’s names. Specifically, introduce yourself to the technical director and the audio technician.

Just knowing their names means you can say something like this from the stage…

“Hey Gary.  Are the slides not working?”
“Hey Jennifer.  Is the mic dead?”

Then, they can respond and they know you’re talking to them and not the audience.  

When it comes to slide malfunctions…

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