When I work with clients to teach them how to deliver engaging virtual trainings I send them a survey to learn more about their experience and what they want to learn. One of the question is, “What fears or concerns do you have about facilitating/leading virtual experiences?”
Over and over they state their fear is that something will go wrong with the technology.
Here is exactly what they say…
- Running into technology issues
- How to deal with technical issues
- Tech failures…people have different computers, broadband speed, access
- Use of the technology
- Internet connectivity issues
- Connectivity and technical issues
- Technology and my lack of familiarity with various platforms
- If technology fails during the meeting, people freeze onscreen etc, how do I address that?
I have bad news…you will experience tech failures. The real question is do you know how to handle it?
I recently had an epic technology fail when I was supposed to facilitate and present virtually. Here’s what happened.
I was slated to host a 5-hour meeting for my National Speakers Association (NSA) Carolinas chapter including leading a 90-minute workshop in the morning. I woke up to find I didn’t have any internet and cell service was unusually poor so I couldn’t use my hot spot. Neighbors all have the same problem. We have no idea when it’ll be restored. I’m now freaking out. The event starts in 45 minutes.
First, I text Evan Carroll, our chapter president, and get him set up as the Zoom host. At least he’ll be able to start things off if I can’t get online.
Then, I text my friends Laura and Diane who live about 1/2 mile away to see if they had internet. They did. I drove over to their house, joined their wifi, and hosted the meeting while sitting in my car in their driveway. I ended up only being 10 minutes late and Evan had kicked things off nicely. Ahhh… a moment of relief.
I switched workshop slots with our afternoon presenter Wally Adamchik in hopes that my internet would be back before then. Wally was gracious and flexible about it.
In some ways, the problem was resolved and all was well. The program was moving along and I was able to facilitate from the backseat of my car. The kicker was that my afternoon workshop was on Leading Engaging Virtual Trainings. Of all topics, I need to be on my tech game! I didn’t have my mic, my external monitor, my video camera – important elements for a professional program delivery.
It’s now lunch time and my internet still isn’t back up. I decide to drive home and bring my entire office set up to my friends porch so I can present from there (e.g extra monitor, camera, mic). But, I try to start my car and the battery is dead because I had my computer plugged into my car through the morning. Drained the battery. Dang!
Laura tries to jump my car, but her battery terminal is corroded. Seeing my stress, Laura gives me her keys and tells me to take her car. Meanwhile, she kindly set up my car with her battery charger. I was so grateful for her!
I race home, grab all my tech gear, and a quick snack. I get back to Laura’s house just in time to set up my external monitor, camera, and mic on a table on her front porch. Granted I’m now dripping with sweat and I will no longer be wearing the professional jacket I had planned! 😂
In the midst of my presentation a thunder storm rolls in and everyone on the call can hear the thundering. 🤦♀️
At one point I lose power for 3 minutes and got kicked out of the meeting. Our president realized what happened and facilitated a quick chat about the topic I was just speaking on while I got plugged back in.
The whole thing is now just a comedy skit! 😂
Everyone in attendance was so gracious about it all. I think in the end it turned out pretty well. I think the experience for the participants was actually rather seamless. It was just me behind-the-scenes who was experiencing the madness. And that’s fine – that’s how it should be! By dinner time my adrenaline level finally returned to normal. 🤪
When I got home I found out the cause of all this was a large fire near downtown Asheville that leveled an apartment complex that was under construction. It burned the fiber optic cables and 80,000 people were without internet. No one was injured. Arson suspected. You just can’t plan for something like that.
I owe huge thanks to my NSA colleagues Evan Carroll, Wally Adamchik, and Nanci Appleman-Vassil for their support and stepping in to help. That’s what I love about NSA speakers!
Plus, a huge thank you to my friends Laura and Diane for sharing their wifi, loaning me their car, charging my car battery, and setting me up with a remote office on their porch. They saved the day! ❤️
If you are worried about technology going bad, it will. The real question is do you know how to solve your tech issues when they arise? In my online course Leading Engaging Virtual Meetings you will learn how to use technology well, how to adjust when needed, and how to rock things even when they go bad. More details and registration here.
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