You’re listening to the White Rabbit Conversations on the art of presenting in a rather noisy world. Your hosts are Matt Krause and Art Derosanis. Matt helps leaders of international companies speak, write, and present with confidence. Harper is an author, communications trainer, and a startup investor with a diverse portfolio of companies in Barcelona. If you like this podcast, please share it with your friends and colleagues. Now on to Matt and Albert for today’s conversation.
So, Albert, so tell me what’s on your mind today?
Not today. I’m planning to turn this recording into one where I ran and rave about some technical problems and use it as a therapy session.
But actually, I’m referring to something that’s an actual thing that happened a couple of months ago. A short while ago, I was sitting in a room full of people and listening to entrepreneurs who want to receive investment for their projects, and they were pitching to us.
I was sitting there as one of the potential investors, and one particular project actually had attracted my attention more than the others.
But at the height of their presentation, the team wanted to show a video to demonstrate how the product works. And unfortunately, that’s when things started to fall apart. The software that they were using, I mean, it’s no life. It matter because I’ll come to the significance of that. What happened is it didn’t work as expected, and the team found themselves standing in front of us, not knowing what to do. Okay. They told the video contained some important points to demonstrate how the product worked and how the product worked was actually the value proposition that they were bringing. So it was extremely important that we sold out. Yeah. They ended up spending some time, a couple of minutes to make it work. But of course, this was a pitch contest, so the timing was critical and rigid, and these minutes were deducted from this time. Anyway, in the end, the video didn’t work. Okay. And one of the team members uncomfortably said, well, if you want to see the video, come forward to the desk after all the presentations are finished, after all the teams all the other teams presented.
And I deliberately remained in my seat after the event finished, after all the presentations finished to see if any of the other investors would proceed, would go to the desk and ask to see the video because it was an interesting project.
What happened? Did you need investors go.
None of them did. Oh, wow. I went because I was interested, but I was also interested in to see how the other people would respond. No other person actually went to the desk.
And I watched him just walk away. Yeah. And the significance is there missed a huge opportunity because of a problem that could have easily been avoided. Okay. So that’s why I wanted to bring it up today, and not only in terms of investor presentations. But whenever we’re presenting to people, we can never know in which presentation, which audience member may have the power to change the course of our lives. So we need to make sure that everything goes well according to plan. In the presentations over the past several years, I see that videos in presentations are one of the areas that provide that cause the most problems. That’s why I want to talk about it today for sure, which are easily avoidable. So, yeah, that’s what I want to talk about today.
Okay, so when the video didn’t work in minutes, in terms of minutes, how many minutes went by while they were standing there trying to get the video to work before they finally gave up and said, okay, we’re just going to have to do this verbally?
Well, they had a total of four minutes, so they had only spent two minutes.
Which meant a total of four minutes to do their whole presentation. Wow.
Yes. This was a pitch contest. There were ten teams, so it was a pitch contest. So they didn’t have much time. This is not like an hour long presentation. And they could say, okay, we’re having some problems. Take a coffee break. We’ll come back when we fix it.
This video problem burned half of their presentation time. Is that correct?
Half of their time. And I will say the entire presentation, the entire opportunity. I think they missed a good one.
First of all, just to start with, you’ve got your life’s work and you’ve got four minutes to explain it. That’s really hard. Just to start with it. Yeah, that’s difficult enough if everything goes perfectly and then your video doesn’t work. So tell me more. So what happened?
Well, in their case, not much. Not much happened because the time was over and they had to leave the stage. And like I said, none of the investors was interested enough at the end of the event to go and say, hey, the video didn’t work. I want to see it.
So today I want to talk about three ways of actually making sure that this doesn’t happen or preventing it as much as possible.
Okay, so three ways of preventing this problem.
Okay, go for it.
Well, the first one is having the mindset that the Internet doesn’t exist, not relying on Internet coverages. Okay, well, yes, we’re recording this in 2022. Space are high. Everybody’s connected. Even my speaker in my apartment is connected to the Internet somehow. But that connection can break at any moment. And I don’t want that to happen during an important presentation that I’m delivering to a critical audience. Okay. So do not rely on Internet connectivity. And I recommend that you always keep an offline copy of the video, especially if it is a very important video. Always keep an offline copy on the computer, on a stick, et cetera. So, like, it’s the 1990s and we don’t have fast Internet, or we don’t have Internet at all. So that’s the first step.
You’ve got the video sitting on your USB stick, for example, and the Internet goes down. So you’re saying take that video and play it on the screen so that people can see it?
Well, actually, my second point is about that.
Okay, go ahead.
The video on the USB stick is a last resort backup if everything else goes south.
So my second recommendation will be, yes, keep a video on the stick. But during the presentation, embed the video directly into the presentation so that you don’t have to play with switching between the presentation software and the File Explorer, the media player, et cetera, et cetera.
The second tip that I want to share is put embed the video directly into the presentation. Now, some people can identify with the fact, well, people old enough, like our age, can identify with the fact that previously this was a problem when the computers weren’t good enough, when the software wasn’t robust enough, embedding the video directly into the presentation had its own set of problems that it brought. The computers would freeze, the presentation software would crash at the worst case. In the worst case, you will have to reset the computer, et cetera. But luckily, most of those days are over, so the computers are strong enough, put the video file directly onto the slide and play it when the time comes. Now, be careful with auto play, because when you’re presenting, you don’t want to come to the slide of the video and suddenly start in the background playing. There are settings in all presentation software to make sure that when you come to the slide for the video, it actually waits for you. It actually waits for the presenter to push the button to start playing. So put the video into the slide directly, save it with the presentation file, and set the autoplay off so that it starts only when you’re ready to show the video.
That’s important. Okay. The third tip that I want to share has to do with preparation and rehearsal, but in this case, I’m talking more about the technical preparation. You need to verify that your video and your presentation in general will work seamlessly and without any problems across multiple platforms.
What I mean by that is, for example, in this case, the presenters were using a setup given to them by the organizers.
So you may have prepared your presentation on a Mac using, for example, keynote presentation software. But then suddenly you may find yourself in a situation where the setup is PowerPoint on Windows. So you need to make sure in advance that your presentation will work without any problems across all the platforms.
That’s why you need to prepare and rehearse in advance.
But at the same time, you need to find out, for example, if you’re going to present on a computer which is not yours. You need to ask to the organizers to the event in advance. What is the platform, what is the software? What am I going to use, what is the screen, etcetera. You need to clarify all these things to make sure that you don’t have any last minute surprises. Okay. Because I have been there too. I have seen so many people Come to the venue with their presentations on a stick which wasn’t compatible with the technical set up that the organizers had there. So they had to juggle between not juggle, but they had to rush to make sure that the presentation worked and in some cases, it didn’t. So you do not have the luxury of finding out at the last moment that your presentation is not 100% compatible with the set up that is in front of you.
Okay, so before we wrap up, Let me just make sure that I’m hearing you correctly. So you’re actually not saying embed your video. For example, tip number two was embed video, right?
Was that tip number two onto the slide?
Yeah, embed your video onto the slide. So you’re saying or you’re advising your clients or you advise people don’t consider embedding the video on the slide. Don’t consider that a backup. Do that from the start. So these are not backup plans in case plan a doesn’t work. You’re saying just assume 100% chance that plan a is not going to work and prepare for these other situations. Is that what you’re saying?
Yes. Well, the first step that I shared, Having the video offline on a stick Was a total plan Z for cases where everything goes wrong. Okay, but you still want to show the video So that you don’t have to say, well, I had a great video. It was online, and there is a problem with the internet, So I cannot show it to you.
You don’t have the luxury to say that. So you’re right. The second step is actually the most crucial step, which is including the presentation onto the slide. So it’s not a backup in case plan a doesn’t work. It’s actually the recommended step.
Good point. Good point. All right, so this brings 10 million things to mind, but we don’t have time for those, so we’ll just leave those for a future episode. So we’ll wrap up here and we’ll save those questions for future episodes. So thank you very much for the tip, by the way.
Alpha, you’re welcome. My pleasure.
All right, so that wraps up today’s episode and we will see you on the next episode of the white rabbit.
Okay. Good talking to you. Good talking to you, Alfred. Talk to you later.
Thank you for listening to the white rabbit with Matt Krause and Altera sans. You can subscribe to the podcast on Spotify five itunes or through your favorite feed.