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You only get one chance to make a first impression, and when it’s a live event in front of a large crowd, everything must go right — except when it doesn’t. Last year started with Warren Beatty reading the wrong Best Picture winner at the Oscars and ended with Apple’s Craig Federighi being locked out of his iPhone while introducing Face ID. Both flubs received a lot of attention in the media and on the internet.

The No. 1 risk for all live events is that they are, well, live. You have one chance to execute, and any number of problems can arise. Working in the event space, we have the privilege of seeing and supporting thousands of presentations every year. Some are memorable because they inspire and entertain; others are remembered for being epic fails.

A lot can go wrong in a live presentation. Speakers get tongue-tied, content doesn’t resonate with an audience, demos fail, and materials are lost in transit. It would be nice if you could just freestyle everything on the fly like Octopus Energy CEO Greg Jackson. No matter how much you prepare, every time you give a live presentation, any number of problems can arise. You have to overcome these hiccups and keep going if you want to make a good impression.

Worst-Case Scenarios of Live Events

Although it looks seamless and easy to the audience, live presentations usually involve a lot of moving parts. Audio equipment like microphones and speakers are used, as are scripts, spotlights, demo screens, and even teleprompters. When you get on stage, each component must work flawlessly.

Imagine getting on stage and having your microphone go out. You may not even notice at first and continue your presentation. You’ll soon be met with audience members yelling, “We can’t hear you!”

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