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Might Have Missed List (07/17/11)

Gub doo gia bee? (Language Log)

[This post is chock full of all sorts of wonderful things going wrong during a series of presentations at an academic conference. This brief passage represents just a sliver of a very entertaining story]

And the other problem was that, impelled by some irresistible psychological imperative (I saw this later with several other speakers), he instinctively pointed the remote projection controller at the screen, desperately trying to get it to respond. But the computer he should have been pointing the remote at was ten or fifteen yards away on a table in a totally different direction. It was just too counterintuitive to turn 180 degrees away from the screen, so his back was toward it, in order to change the screen image. We humans are simple mammals, and we imagine that what we are focusing on is where the action is. So his clicking away with the remote was not being detected by the computer, and even if it had been detected, he would have had no idea whether anything had happened to the screen as a result.

Presentation Tip: First Impressions Matter (Professionally Speaking…)

Be prepared, with AV equipment checked, handouts sorted and slides ready. If you seem disorganized and rattled over logistics, your audience may assume that your presentation will be equally disorganized.

How to recognize someone for their service to an organization when they can’t be present in person (Conferences That Work)

  • A week before the event, Nancy and I set up a test call with me calling from the laptop I would be using at the conference. It was good we did this, because it took a while to get Nancy’s camera working. We arranged for her to start Skype when she arrived at work, thirty minutes before we would start the recognition ceremony.

  • About twenty minutes before the call, Nancy was not showing up as connected on Skype. I called her from my cell and she assured me Skype was running. I restarted Skype on my machine & this time she appeared. Phew! During the next few minutes, I muted our audio while the audience assembled.


The Weekly Might Have Missed List (09/19/10)

associationTECH — Tech the Mic…Tech 1…Tech 2…Tech Tech Tech

It seems absurd the amount of preparation that goes into a session only to have the session falter at the end because of an AV situation that could easily have been avoided. A great example is a session I went to about using video for associations. Great information and examples were shared there, but the first presenter kept struggling with a slow connection whenever she wanted to play a video. The first couple of times I felt sorry for her, but after that I grew annoyed. Why didn’t she have a backup plan for something as finicky as video? Why didn’t she have some videos stored directly on her laptop, so she didn’t have to rely on the internet? Had she checked her connection and the buffering time before the presentation?

Life in the Corporate Theater — Let the Games Begin (Dispatch from Moscow)

We immediately decided to have the AV Vendor show us all of the equipment so that we wouldn’t have any surprises as 7:00 pm.

To start off, we requested a 16 channel mixer, with a minimum of 10 XLR inputs. They provided a 12 channel mixer with 8 XLR Inputs. We requested a minimum of 4 channels of graphic equalizers, and they provided 1 channel. We asked about the wireless microphones, and fortunately, the 5 microphones we requested were there, all thrown kinda loosely in a case. They informed us that they had  “Madonna” mics and we asked if they had regular Lavalier mics. They said they did, but that the “Madonna” mics worked much better. We told them that we understood that, but that the presenters would never wear a Madonna style headset mic. It turns out that the Lav mics are omni directional, and I am going to have to struggle against feed back for sure.

Next they showed us the video switcher, and while it was a lot closer to being right than the DJ Mixer that they gave us in St Petersburg, it was only a two channel input switcher and we need four channels.

We asked about cables for everything and while they may have brought enough for what they thought we would need, it was clear that they underestimated what we really needed and we had to make a quick inventory on paper of what we wanted.

ReadyTalk — Conference Blunder Contest (The blunder with the most votes winds two round trip airline tickets)

We had just released our the 3.0 version of our product and had a showcase webinar. It was our largest webinar ever with 1023 people on the line. After telling everyone we would begin in just a couple minutes our CTO left his office for some water and locked himself out. He tried looking for a key and attempted to jimmy the door open, but no good. So in his best Starsky and Hutch impersonation he body slammed the door to break it down. We moved to bigger offices a month ago and that door cost us $800 to replace!

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (11/23/08)

We have a ton of really great links this week. Enjoy!

a shel of my former self: Connecting to the Net in 1992 — Great story from the bad old days. “We found the AV tech and explained that we had requested a direct line. ‘Right,’ he said, ‘and that’s how you get a direct line.’ Patiently, Craig explained how a modem works. He unfolded the contract and pointed to the section that listed the requirement. Then he said (and I can still hear it today, 16 years later), ‘Over 100 people will arrive here in 45 minutes expecting to see an online demonstration that we can’t deliver without a direct line. And at Lexis-Nexis, we have two floors of lawyers with nothing much to do who would love to to make your life miserable over this.’

Dave Paradi’s PowerPoint Blog: Plan what happens before and after your presentation — “The projector wasn’t needed the whole time, just for this one part. And when that part was over, it would not be needed again. Unfortunately, the people running the meeting didn’t plan what to do before or after the projector was used. They left the edit view of PowerPoint on before the slides were used and returned to the edit view after they were done. What could they have done better?”

Danny Thorpe, Architect of Disruption: Mashup Camp, Day 1 — “To make matters worse, the presenter had to talk his way around a number of technical difficulties, including (but not limited to): [ed. note: go to post to see list of technical difficulties]. All of that in 25 minutes. It’s a reassuring to know that even Google can have “those” kinds of demo days.”

Life in the Corporate Theater: Customer Service — “Since the first day onsite my meeting planner friend has been telling me horror stories of the service the AV company is providing. The first one starts off with something simple…”

End Point Corporation: OpenSQL Camp 2008 — “My talk on MVCC was the first talk of the day, which of course means lots of technical difficulties.” What does that say about the current state of the industry?

Make Your Point with Pow’R: The basics are the basics for a reason — “I have given presentations in the past with this laptop and projector, so what could have changed? Puzzled at first I soon realized that I replaced my laptop a few weeks ago. The new one looks the same as my old one and I forgot that I had not tested this combination yet. Thank goodness for rehearsals.”

James.Random(): Behind the scenes at PDC: The Keynote Timelapse — Has nothing to do with the actual presentations, just very cool to watch. Notice how early in the process they begin to test/calibrate the projection system. And how often they recalibrate. “I’ve just uploaded this cool video which I got hold of internally that shows how the PDC08 keynote room was assembled, used and broken down in under 6 minutes.  It’s quite impressive how it all comes together, just for a few hours of presentations!”

BizBash Los Angeles: Emergency Preparedness Panelists Stress Early, Detailed Security Measures — “Last week—just ahead of the destructive fires that burned a swath through the region—BizBash gathered Los Angeles planners for a panel on  emergency preparedness at events. … Here are some of their top tips for being ready for anything.”

Executive Speech Coach: Fire Alarm During Your Presentation — “I’ve witnessed this happen to two other speakers and this week it was my turn. It’s a lot easier to think logically after it is over. It might never happen to you – but perhaps you should be prepared for the fire alarm to ring during your presentation. About eight minutes into my breakfast presentation to the local chamber of commerce at a fancy restaurant the fire alarm rang.”

HotelChatter: Fires Cause Evacuation of Four Seasons Manele Bay: Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking things like this can’t disrupt your presentation, meeting or event. “Brushfires on Lanai — which burned about 300 acres today — caused the evacuation of all guests and staff at Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay. The fire was about a mile from the hotel when the Maui County Fire Department order the hotel to evacuate everyone to Manele Bay Harbor and onto boats.”

Rules of Thumb: Giving a Speech — “When giving a public science lecture to a general audience, there will always be one weirdo who asks questions that have nothing to do with your lecture. There will also be one smart-aleck who asks questions to show how smart he is. The faster you silence both of them, the happier your audience will be.”

Execupundit.com: Ambushed By Minor Items — “What surprises me is how often otherwise savvy individuals get to a certain point in planning and then suspend all scrutiny, relying instead upon a combination of hope, fate, and pixie dust. Things do not magically come together, but they don’t just trust on that convergence, they rely upon it.”

iGroupNews: Top 10 Services and Facilities A Meeting Planner Should Identify — “When I travel to a destination for a site inspection or to assist with a client conference, I always make it a point to arrive a day early.  An early arrival allows me time to “walk” the city and gather information that a client or attendee may require outside of the confines of the hotel.”

Next Generation Event: Resources for Running Effective Meetings — “If you’re an event planner, you know how to plan events. When you’re planning an event, you leave no detail undefined. When you execute the event, you follow clearly-defined schedules and guidelines. But do you sometimes neglect those standards when running small meetings within the office? “