Why you need a Speaker’s A/V check-list

Updated to Business on January 3, 2023.

Everything was going well – the event was on time, the audience was ready, the Emcee nailed the introduction and I was half-way into my keynote when the screen went blank. Nothing, no slides, nada.

In a flash, 3 extremely helpful men from the A/V crew descended on the stage, intent on solving the mystery. I tried to continue, but the commotion in front of me was clearly more entertaining.

It wasn’t until my third attempt to get the audiences’ attention I noticed my laptop was not plugged in. Aaarg!

That’s when I started using a check-list. Always.

Here’s the deal. When you’re preparing to go on stage in front of 200 strangers, you’re not at your best—you can’t be.

You’ll forget little details, like: testing the microphone, going the bathroom, checking the sound pick up from your laptop works, going the bathroom, testing the slide clicker, going to the bathroom…you get the picture.

Since migrating to more keynote presentations (from seminars and facilitation) I only have one version of my check-list – you might need one for seminars, keynotes, and facilitation.

Here’s my list (feel free to copy!):

Keynote Set-up:

  • Emcee has introduction?
  • Handouts (optional) distributed
  • Presenter’s view turned on
  • Close browser (to avoid calendar alerts)
  • Power plugged in
  • WIFI off
  • Lavalier tested
  • Remote clicker tested
  • Test sound pick up (optional)
  • Video clips tested
  • Cell on mute

On stage:

  • Remote clicker
  • sample handouts (to hold up as prop)
  • sample Opt-in form (to hold up as prop)
  • 3 books to use for spot quiz
  • sample book (to hold up as prop)
  • water