Technology is great until it isn’t. In these socially distanced, work-from-home times, we’re more reliant on technology than ever…which gives technology even more opportunities to fail us. And when technology fails, it loves to fail big. Gulp.
We’ve all spent the last year brushing up on our Zoom skills, our online direct message etiquette and our file sharing prowess. We know working with tech means trialing things in advance, trouble-shooting on the fly and getting cozy with tech FAQs. But no matter how prepared we are, sometimes there’s a glitch in the Matrix that makes us rue the day we first logged online. Le sighhhhh.
For me that was last week, when I took to the virtual stage in front of 75 attendees as part of a social media summit. My audio, which I’d tested beforehand, was a mess. I sounded like I was trying to talk underwater. It was somewhere between garbled and gargled.
Sure, I was flustered and frustrated. But I was determined to make it work – and my attendees were on my side ready to help! In the end, we got through, and while the session didn’t go as planned, we achieved the goal of the session: recording and sharing Reels to IG.
Here’s what to do if the worst happens and you show up to Zoom court wearing a cat filter:
Make it a learning opportunity
Unfortunately, glitches are part of life. Rather than blaming the tech, problem solve your way around the issue. Audio isn’t working? Switch to chat or try calling in from your phone. Virtual background gone awry? Screen stuck? Think of it as a new temporary background or avatar and deliver a killer verbal presentation.
Have a backup plan
You can test all you like, but things can still go wrong. Have alternative solutions waiting in the wings in case the worst happens. Create an alternative login link people can use if Zoom goes down. Have a recording of your session ready to share if your connection fails. And block out an alternative time and date ahead of time in case you need to reschedule.
Work with what you’ve got
Often a tech snafu will hit just part of your presentation. If a video freezes, an image doesn’t load or a link goes to a 404 error page, just keep moving and focus on the bits that do work. (Pro Tip: minimize the risk of these things going wrong by saving them locally or working from screengrabs instead of live links.)
Keep your cool!
Every moment is a branding moment, including tech fails. Unless you’re Gordon Ramsay, try not to freak out and curse out your computer. Laugh off the problem, stay professional and show that you’re a pro at leading your way through tough situations. Showing up is part of the game!
Send a thank you note
If you become the poster child for a tech fail, don’t let that become your audience’s lingering impression of you. Follow up with a thank you note, a recording of anything they might have missed, or some bonus content to help make up for any angst they might have experienced on their end. Boom, unexpected extra value!
We all have tough days when things don’t go according to plan. But persisting through tech disasters is part of our professional promise to deliver value to the people we serve. If your tech goes awry, just roll with the glitches – because all your audience can expect is your best. And hey, you can bet they’ve been there, too!
Go embrace the mess, friends!
Planning an event and looking for a speaker or social media trainer who’s ready to rock it out no matter the challenge? – Let’s connect!