Breaking your own rule

Screen with pale imageIt’s hard when you’re caught violating the same rule that you’ve been teaching your own clients for years—especially when that rule originally grew out of your own, hard experience.

It happened to us last week. We always say it’s a good idea to check out the venue before a presentation, using the very equipment you’ll be using that day. If you don’t, you may find that the lights can’t be controlled, the projector may run bright, the sun may be in everyone’s eyes, and the sound system may squeal uncontrollably.

But this time . . . well, the room was booked solid. There was no getting in there before the very morning of our presentation, and we never got around to an actual run-through.

It was only during the presentation that we found how bright the venue’s projector ran. Every slide was washed out. The slide you see above, for example, was supposed to show how pastel colors are a poor choice for charts and graphs because they don’t provide enough visual contrast.  When that slide came up, the bars in the graph weren’t even visible—just a few random numbers floating in space, illustrating nothing.

The good news is that we explained what should have been up on the screen and the audience was okay with that. The better news is that we’ve just confirmed our own rule. Do a run-through before you present. If you don’t do that—and have the means to deal with it—you’re asking for trouble.