PowerpointlessLast weekend I had the chance to volunteer at one of the largest youth ministry conferences in the country. Serving as a room host was great as it gave me a chance to see professional presenters up close. It also gave me the chance to see one of the great frustrations of the modern presenting era. Technology.

We all have nearly unlimited access to technological wonders that can enhance our presentations. Or ruin them completely! With wireless access, laptops, tablets, smartphones and the new tiny projectors you can wow your audience. But this weekend I saw the downside to all this technology. A couple of the presenters had problems with their Powerpoint presentations. Slides wouldn’t advance, the interface with the projector would blink and reset. It wasn’t terrible but it was certainly distracting. On a couple of occasions the presenter would openly comment about how this hadn’t happened before only highlighting the obvious glitch.

When you choose to use media and technology with your presentation, be prepared for things to go wrong. You can practice all you want but there are variables in certain settings that you can’t control. Have a back-up plan if your technology should fail all together. Don’t waste time fighting it in front of the audience. When possible have your technology run by someone else, though you will probably want to hold the clicker when advancing slides.

Technology should be seamless and invisible to the audience. Your presentation should flow smoothly. The more complex your props the more risk that your presentation might be derailed. Keep that in mind as you consider whether or not it’s crucial to a successful presentation.

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