Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) is a popular Marvel superhero; a genius who has created a flying suit of armour which elevates him to a physical demi-god status. However, while his Iron Man ‘suit’ enables him to dramatically save the world from threats such as alien invasion, it also fuels his arrogance. And of course, if it fails, Tony returns to his physically ordinary human existence.
Put On the Suit
When it comes to presentations, I believe that PowerPoint is an Iron Man suit for your presentations; while it’s capable of spectacular, impressive feats, if it fails then you’re back to relying on just you, with no fancy visuals. And if you’ve made the slides the focus of the whole thing, instead of a tool with which to illustrate the inspirational message and information you’re communicating to your audience (like you were supposed to), then you’re stuffed (a bit like when Tony Stark sends that nuclear missile through the wormhole towards the alien fleet but then runs out of power, going into freefall above Manhattan (oh, come on, don’t tell me you haven’t seen it)).
Unexpected things will happen, but the technical issues are the ones you can allow for. Consider what could fail, and come up with some alternative (yes, there might be lots of possible problems, but it’ll be worth preparing alternatives for when it comes to the day itself, trust me). You may find, for example, the idea of using a whiteboard instead of your beautiful slides to be laughable or cringe-inducing, but if you ‘re not ready for that possibility you may find yourself severely regretting it.
Save the World
The coolest, most impressive thing you can do on the day is not necessarily showing something you prepared earlier. It might be the moment when the tech failed and you simply switched off the laptop and started drawing your idea instead, in a fluid, interactive way that made you look like a creative problem-solver. Crucially, instead of looking flustered and then faffing about with the laptop for ten minutes while your audience lost interest, you adapted and held it all together like a pro.
Check out my ‘Ditch the Tech‘ video!