In case you missed it, action movie director Michael Bay lost his cool after his teleprompter went down at a Samsung presentation at CES and ended up getting so flustered he walked off the stage. I don't want to criticize him—I do feel a bit sorry for the guy, who in his pretty decent response says, "I guess live shows aren’t my thing."
You know, they aren't the thing for many speakers at B-to-B events, who may be professionals, but likely aren't professional speakers who can pick up and run with it when the tech fizzles, a not-so-rare occurrence.
As one person discussing this on the MiForum listserv said, it's a reminder to always have a backup plan for whatever Murphy's Law wants to throw at your speakers. The moderator handled it like a pro, but the whole experience could have been avoided with some advanced preparation.
I remember a few years ago when PCMA Skyped in gamification expert Jane McGonigal for a keynote address, and I think we all gave a collective sigh of relief when it went without a hitch. But I remember talking with staff, and they did in fact have I believe at least two backup plans in place in case Skype decided to do its weird, "you're talking with someone at the bottom of the ocean" thing.
What do you do to prepare your speakers so they can save face—and the session—should technology prove balky?