Many of you noticed I didn't send an article last week. Thanks so much to those who checked in to ensure I was okay. Elizabeth and I took the week off to island hop on the boat in Cape Cod. It was glorious.

But... we're back!

This week, I thought we'd dive deeper into one of the most overlooked aspects of the speaker experience: your tech check.

You know, organizers book that 30-60 minute slot for you to show up, meet the A/V team, see the venue, test your slides, and say hi?

Yeah, that's the Tech Check, and it just might be the most important piece of the in-person client experience.

I get it. The tech check might not seem like the most glamorous part of your speaking journey. But trust me, when executed with intention it's your chance to make or break your client relationship.

Why? Well, let's break down the five reasons the Tech Check is so important and set the stage for how to make your Tech Check more impactful.

The Two Types of Tech Checkers

Over the last decade, I've sat through hundreds of tech checks. Not just mine, but I've sat patiently as other speakers (some pros and some not) arrive, interact with the client and A/V team, hop on stage, and prepare for their keynotes.

I've come to realize that so many tech checks fall into two categories at opposite ends of the spectrum.

The Casual Click Through

First, we have the Casual Click Through Tech Checkers. These speakers show up to the tech check like it's a formality. They introduce themselves as if they're checking in for a doctor's appointment.

"Hi, I'm So-And-So, tomorrow's opening keynote and I have a 3:30 tech check."

They ask for the clicker and confirm that the slides move when they hit the advance button. They hop onto the stage, clicking through a bunch of slides, occasionally muttering to themselves. When they get to the slide with the video, they ask why we can't hear the audio - which the audio tech quickly fixes. They click through a few more slides and then hop off stage.

Looks good. I think we're good to go. Need anything else from me?

The speaker says.

The A/V team shrugs. The speaker grabs their bag and says:

Sounds good. I'll see you at 7:30 tomorrow morning for my keynote.

That's it. They're gone.

The Previously Burned Keynoter

We have the Previously Burned Keynoters on the other end of the spectrum. These speakers show up believing the Tech Check is going to be a disaster - every single time. They introduce themselves as if they already know the A/V team is a bunch of idiots who've never connected a MacBook to a projector before.

"Hi. I'm So-And-So, tomorrow morning's keynote presenter. Did you get my detailed tech requirements for my session? I sent it multiple times."

They demand.

It goes downhill from there. They roll their eyes as the A/V team works to connect their laptop. They ask why the podium is on stage, noting that their contract clearly specifies no podium on stage when they present. These speakers demand that the audio tech finds a Countryman Microphone instead of a Lavalier - per their tech rider. On and on this goes for 30 humiliating minutes.

At the end of the tech check, both the A/V team and the speaker are glad it's over.

"I expect this will go a lot smoother tomorrow morning..."

The speaker remarks as they grab their bag and leave for the evening.

I get it. These kinds of speakers have had bad experiences in the past, and every time something's gone wrong, they've added items to their technical requirements in the hopes that it doesn't happen again. Trust me; we've all had a bad technical experience, right?

But it doesn't have to be like this.

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