Don’t Forget This on Your Next Trip – Tips For Traveling Trainers, Speakers and Presenters

Several years ago, I watched Teresa, a director at a large company, begin to give a speech. Her career was on the fast track. She was making a key presentation at an executive retreat. This was a make or break moment for her.

But, her Power Point presentation would not work. As she stood there in front of her company’s senior management, she tried rebooting her laptop, changing projectors and fiddling with the laptop display settings. Finally, she discovered the root of the problem: the battery on her wireless mouse was dead.

So, 10 minutes after her scheduled start time, she began her presentation using a regular computer mouse. By this time, the damage was done to her career.

What’s the morale of this story? Avoid embarrassing yourself and hurting your career by forgetting key items for your next presentation.

You have enough anxiety about public speaking without letting travel problems sabotage your presentation. Here are five simple tips to help you prepare.

  1. Test all of your equipment ahead of time. Bring spare batteries for every one of your electronic devices. Also, prepare a backup plan in case of equipment failure.
  2. Load a backup copy of your presentation and handouts onto a CD-ROM or USB flash drive. Then pack it in a piece of luggage other than your laptop case. That way, if you laptop is lost, stolen or crashes, you can load your backup copy onto a rented or borrowed laptop at your destination.
  3. Print maps or driving instructions to your destination. That makes it easy for you to find your off site meeting location or executive retreat. Also, always plan to arrive early at your destination. While an attendee can be late and not derail the presentation, if the speaker is late everyone is kept waiting.
  4. Inspect the meeting room or trade show floor the night before to get a look at the room layout and the sight lines for your Power Point projector, overheads or flip charts. I learned this lesson the hard way when I failed to look at the room ahead of time a few years ago. When I arrived to do my seminar, there was a huge pillar right in the middle of the room that blocked the view of one-third of my class. I had to hastily re-arrange the tables and chairs so everyone could see the screen.
  5. Make sure people can find your room. Check the hotel’s signage to see it is easy for attendees to find your meeting room. If not, use masking tape to place signs or arrows leading to your classroom (with the hotel’s permission, of course.) Remember, leave a trail of breadcrumbs so people can find your room.

Use these tips to prepare for a successful presentation at your next off site meeting, conference or trade show.

© 2008 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Toronto, Canada