I have to give a shoutout to one of our instructors here at Command Presence – Billie Taylor. If you ever get the chance to hear Billie speak follow through with it. She is passionate, intelligent, and she loves the law enforcement community.
She was preparing to teach a class this week and the projector died. As in, DRT, unable to resuscitate. Now of course calls were made for the projector to be replaced but it was time to start the class. So guess what she did? She started the class – without AV.
I can hear the collective gasp now as many instructors are reading this. How could you start the class without your PowerPoint? How can Billie be expected to be able to carry on without her presentation aid?
Because she knows the material. No. That’s not strong enough. She knows the material intimately, deeply. She can talk about recruiting and retention intelligently and in a relevant manner. Sure, the presentation is easier to do when she has the benefit of the big screen, but she doesn’t NEED it.
And it isn’t just her knowledge of the material that shines through. It is her ability to engage with the crowd and keep their interest even without a big picture up on the screen. It is her ability to create a word picture for them so it is almost as if they can see the picture that would be up there if the projector were working.
Equipment failures are going to happen. It is not a matter of “if”. It is a matter of when and how many (thank you Mr. Murphy). Master your material so you can deliver your training without the equipment. Hone your presentation skills so people will stay engaged even without a big screen behind you. Equipment failures are a fact in the life of a trainer. What cannot, should not happen, is an instructor failure. You have the responsibility to make sure that does not happen.