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Have a ‘Plan B’ Because When the Screen Goes. . .

BLANK  You’re Going to Need It! – Glad I Had Mine!

MDo you have a spare tire in your trunk?  If you do, and I hope so, do you know if it’s properly inflated?  Do you have a jack to lift the car so the tire can be changed?  How about a lug wrench to remove the bad wheel and install the good one?

Have you ever changed a tire? (I don’t mean calling the Auto Club and waiting for the service truck to arrive!)  I know many of you haven’t.  So if you had the misfortune of getting a flat in the middle of nowhere and had a properly inflated tire in your trunk, and all the tools to make that change, you might have to grab your manual and figure how to change that tire – correct?

Having a ‘Plan B’ doesn’t mean implementing it is going to be easy!

Murphy’s Law, if something can go wrong it will go wrong, applies to the world of Public Speaking and Presentations, also.

I always have a ‘Plan B’, and often a ‘Plan C’.  But, like having that spare tire, I never really expect to need it.

I often use Apple’s Keynote software to develop and present slides in my presentations.  My backup plans (spare tire and tools) include:

  1. Copying the presentation to the ‘Cloud’.

  2. Copying the presentation to a thumb drive.

  3. Converting the presentation to PowerPoint in case there is not another mac available should mine not work and copying that file to the ‘Cloud’ and a thumb drive.

  4. Checking that someone will have a PC or mac available as a backup should mine fail.

  5. Checking that they have either PowerPoint or Keynote on that backup computer.

  6. Hopefully, checking that my version of those programs will work on their version.

  7. As I write this, I probably should have the software program on a backup drive, also, and hope their operating system will be able to load and run my software version.

  8. Printed copies (yes, plural) of the Light Table View of the slideshow.

  9. Light Table View allows the printing of several sizes of thumbnails of all slides.  I’m able to place up to 35 slides on one piece of paper.  Because my slides are mostly images, with very little text, I can look at the slide and know what words I should be speaking.  If you use lots of text, and you should not, those thumbnails would have to be larger than ones with just images on them.

  10. Navigator View can also be printed.

  11. This shows the slides and any relevant notes.

Well, it happened!  I had a blowout and the car stopped!  That’s my analogy.

The real story is that I was on the 8th slide of a 36 slide presentation to a local Chamber of Commerce and the screen went BLANK!  I couldn’t understand what went wrong.  The computer was fine. The projector seemed to be running, also.  It was a luncheon meeting, so there was no time to reboot either device.  I grabbed my ‘spare tire’, my Light Table View printout, and continued the presentation.

It’s a shame I couldn’t continue to show the images on the slides since they reinforce the words I’m speaking and appeal to the visual learning style that most people have.  That said, it was still a good presentation and I received compliments on the delivery and content.

There are several lessons here:

  1. Murphy’s Law rules!

  2. It’s not a question of If, it’s a question of When.  I’ve had snafus before, but not a ‘blowout’ like this.  Be Prepared!

  3. Practice! – Practice! – Practice!

  4. Be certain you know your stuff!

  5. If I had not practiced and practiced and known what each of those images on the slide stood for in my presentation, it would have been“BIG Sweat” rather than “No Sweat!” for me.  (I have to admit, it did get a little warm for a few minutes!)

  6. Practice ‘Plan B’

  7. Often, your ‘Plan B’ is so much different than the Main Plan that it must be practiced!

  8. I was fortunate.  Since I use mainly images in my slides, looking at the Light Table View was not much different from looking at the slides projected on a screen.

  9. That’s not always the case with the material other presenters use.  What if statistics and graphs were important to the audience GETTING IT?  What would ‘Plan B’ look like then?

  10. One suggestion would be to have large Poster Boards of those important graphs and statistics available if needed.

  11. Be Audience Centered!

  12. Those folks were there to learn something!  My ‘flat tire’ should not have an impact them.

  13. Imagine the response I would have received if I had said, “Sorry folks, I can’t get this working.  Guess we’ll have to reschedule.  Thanks for lunch!”

  14. I assume I would have been blackballed from their chamber and many other associations.

Bottom Line: Are you prepared for something that usually doesn’t, but could go wrong, in an instant? As I stated, I’ve always had that ‘spare tire’ but never expected to use it.

I’ve got a presentation this week and, if you’ll forgive me, I need to print out that ‘Plan B’ Light Table View and put it in my ‘trunk!’

For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you a FREE Gift. Go to: to receive it!


Three ways to keep the attention of your audience.

About Fred E. Miller Fred E. Miller is a speaker, an international coach, and the author of the books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.

They do this because they know: Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

They also know: We perceive really great speakers to be Experts. We like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver Fantastic Presentations! with – NO SWEAT!



  1. Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!

  2. Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!

  3. Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

  4. We are All Self-Employed!

Subscribe to my YouTube ChannelPodcast Channel, and connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook.

My books can be purchased on NO SWEAT Public Speaking” NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

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