People fear technology when they don’t quite understand it, and I see it on the faces of so many presenters that grace one of my op points. There is this look of uncertainty that couples well with the chilling fear of presenting live on stage in front of your industry.
A good AV operator knows that this will be the case in most speakers that don’t present regularly – the best operators will put a speaker at enough ease so that they no longer consider giving a presentation and standing in front of a firing squad as basically the same thing.
It’s the one percenters that I take pride in within my business. It’s the little things that help get the message across, and if all of these add up to a better event then they will forever be a part of our show craft and culture.
As operators, there needs to be a level of empathy that comes with working alongside presenters that are nervous. A heart surgeon that is struggling with a simple PowerPoint remote on stage is still less flummoxed than I would be in front of an open chest cavity.
When a speaker is truly worried about the technology working it is often borne of a negative past experience where something has failed, and they have been left stranded up on stage. In this situation it is always worth letting them know that we are there to back them up in case of emergency. After all, your slides didn’t magically reappear in the right spot after you leaned on the advance button before inadvertently blacking out the presentation now did they?
The cost of audio visual and technical services can often seem eye-watering, however I would counter that there is a greater value in ensuring the message is delivered smoothly, succinctly and with a minimum of hyperventilating speakers.