As a trainer you’ve either been there or you live in fear of going there … yes that moment when your carefully crafted presentation fades from the screen as the power fails, plunging the room and your confidence into a dark abyss.

The good news is it doesn’t have to mean the end of your presentation. “How can you carry on?” is the wrong question to ask – instead ask “How will I carry on?” Subtle difference between can and will there!

Here are four survival strategies for such situations

1. Take Questions

Keep Calm and Train On
While it might be more usual to take questions at the end of your presentation there’s no reason why you can’t make the best of the situation and take the opportunity to talk around your subject matter by seeking input from your attendees.

You might be surprised to discover how well this works for everyone, you included.

2. Use Your Backup Plan

You do have a backup plan … don’t you?

Of course you do! A copy of your slides on a laptop or an iPad would work well. It is then a simple case of finding the slide you were on and carrying on as if nothing had happened.

3. Carry On Without the Slides

It sounds like heresy but to quote something I frequently say to people I mentor “Your slides are not your presentation, you are!”. It’s all too easy to become reliant on your slides and even more so if they are serving as your notes. Your slides should enhance your presentation not be the sole focus of it.

Carrying on without the slides is simple: Know your material, be familiar with the running order and be confident enough in your abilities to carry on without them. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that the audience may actually appreciate your presentation more for it and not less.

4. Take a Break

If all else fails take a break and regroup. Spend some time with your attendees and then plan what you can do given the constraint of no power.

Situations where things have not gone according to the initial plan have the potential to be some of the most positive and rewarding training experiences you will be part of. The Dunkirk Spirit lives on and serves a trainer well.