Your (Carefully Crafted) PowerPoint is Unavailable

Projector Failure (all rights reserved)
There are numerous reasons why your PowerPoint slides may not be available to you.  These are the slides that you carefully planned and meticulously constructed, and they are absent for some reason - sometimes technical and sometimes human error.  Whatever the reason, this post is about what you can do about it.

Always have a Plan B - a set of printed slides for you to follow.  These are not just for PowerPoint failing.  It also means that you always know which slide is coming next.  I have used PowerPoint's "9 to a page" handout for years.  I now use "6 to a page" so the content is more readable.

You might even have a Plan C.  If you have a laptop with the relevant file, you can set it up in front of you and read from it.  A co-facilitator did this many years ago at a coaching session for BHP Coal.  It looked a little unusual, but was certainly effective.

Always consider having a handout with your key points for your audience, not in case of PowerPoint failure, but to give them something to take away at the end.  These become even more useful when PowerPoint fails.

To maximise the likelihood that the PowerPoint file you need will be there when you need it, do not just email it to the organiser or bring it on a USB stick, do both.

Cut your losses early.  Switch to Plan B, and don't have someone sharing the stage with you trying to get the PC working.  And if someone is trying to get it working, definitely switch the projector off, so your audience is not watching this person navigating around in Windows or playing with Display Settings.

PowerPoint failure should never be 'the end of the world'.  (To keep your spirits up, you might need to have "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor running through your head, preferably the version sung in the desert in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.)


For more tips on using PowerPoint, click on the PowerPoint label immediately below.