by Halina St James
“There are three roads to ruin; women, gambling and technicians. The most pleasant is with women, the quickest is with gambling, but the surest is with technicians.”
Georges Pompidou, Former Prime Minister and President of France
I was once on a double bill with another professional speaker. I was speaking after him. We were both using PowerPoint. He had everything set up including external speakers when I arrived. Great, I thought. All I have to do is disconnect his computer and connect mine.
But when I suggested that, I thought he was going to have a heart attack. He told me all the equipment, including the LCD projector, was his. He traveled all over the world and he didn’t want anyone, not even a colleague, messing with his stuff.
He’d been burned once too often using other people’s equipment. So he invested in the smallest and best LCD projector, speakers and laptop he could afford. His equipment works every time, and he guards it like a mother hen guards her chicks. I don’t blame him at all.
At the break, the hotel technicians came in with their equipment and I set up. I said a few prayers and happily everything worked. But there have been times when I’ve double checked everything with a technician – and still something went wrong.
Despite what Georges Pompidou said, I cultivate the friendship of technicians. They’ve saved me when last minute disasters loomed.
So to keep from going to the dark side with your slide show, back it up on a memory stick or web based program. Have access to an extra laptop if necessary. Get your own LCD projector if you can. Test everything every time before you present. And thank the technician. You never know when you may return to the same location.