The Donkey Derby: Stress-free Solutions for Setting up a Training (Presenting) Session

The Donkey Derby: Stress-free Solutions for Setting up a Training (Presenting) Session

In a recent blog I pointed out the panic that comes with trying to set up for a presentation/training session when something goes wrong – usually IT – and there is no assistance on hand. Instead of flapping on the day, what can we do to minimise the stress involved?

First: Have a Plan B. Expect that your power-point slides may not be available to you – and then every time they are, it’s a bonus. If I had a fiver for every time IT equipment has let me down over the years, I’d be a penny behind Bill Gates. I always carry a printout of my slides, so that I can transfer the information onto a flip chart, or at least talk it through with my audience. Neither of these is as powerful visually but at least it doesn’t stop me from presenting.

Second: Send a written request for your preferred room layout/equipment required etc. ahead of time. I have a standard checklist which I email to my clients at least a week prior to the event. If I’m in any doubt that they can carry it out, I ask them to return it with the things that they are able to provide checked off. At least then I know in advance where any shortfall may lie.

Third: Arrive as early as you can. I usually arrive an hour before I’m due to deliver a training session and forty five minutes before a presentation. That way I can re-arrange the room if it isn’t to my specification and I can begin to feel emotionally comfortable in the environment. More importantly it gives time for even the tardiest of IT ‘assistants’ to rock up and languidly point out what they believe to be the b**** obvious (password protected, attached to the wrong lead, master switch in the next room etc).

Fourth: The Donkey Derby – carry as much as you can with you. In my laptop bag alone I carry: my lap top and power lead (of course), VGA lead, HDMI lead, remote clicker, wireless mouse, spare batteries, video-cam, spare SD card, portable sound amplifier and a basic four-pack of new flip chart pens.  Phew! I won’t even begin to list what I tote in my handbag or wheel around in my training case; you would be begging for mercy. I may look like a beast of burden as I trot onto your premises – but I can whip out a camera tripod, tulip-shaped post-it note or can of deodorant with the best of them!