How to Keep Professional When Technology Burps

By JoJo Tabares

The last three weeks I have had some techie problems with the phone lines during my show.  Sometimes my phone loses connection and sometimes my guest loses hers!  Your first instinct is to PANIC and that makes dialing back into the podcast and remaining calm and positive and professional more difficult.  What to do?

* Keep going!
The Show Must Go On!  Before I switched my major to Speech Communication, I was a Voice Major in the Music Department.  At the end of the semester you give a recital where you sing a selection from the pieces you have been learning for an audience made up of the professors from the Voice Department.  Most of your grade rests with this performance.  I sang in French, Italian, Latin and even one in English!  I had no idea what I was saying which made learning the verses more difficult.

During the last song of the recital, I stood in front of the piano with my hands at my sides and my long gown on singing verse one.  I was doing well.  I didn’t crack on the high part and I looked the part of the diva!  Then tragedy struck.  As I came to the end of verse one, I began to realize that I had forgotten verse two!  Thinking it would come to me, I kept calm and continued singing but alas the words to verse two escaped my memory.  I decided to sing verse one again.  Surely I would remember verse three by the time I got to the end!  Well, no.  By the time I was nearing the end of what should have been verse two, I had no recollection of verse three and so began my third rendition of verse one!  I think there might have been four verses in this piece.  Each and every time I repeated verse one.

If you think the music professors at Cal. State University Northridge might not have noticed, you would be wrong!  This was a popular recital piece and they knew it well as they had heard it all week from my fellow voice majors in varying keys.  My grade?  “A”!  Why?  They were impressed with the way in which I handled the situation and concluded that most in the audience would not have known this piece may not even have noticed something was amiss!  Remember, it’s all in the presentation!

* Keep smiling!
If you can laugh at the technological snafoos instead of get flustered by them, you can engage your audience in some fun!  They appreciate when things go kerfluie because it happens to EVERYBODY at one time or another.  They are usually so happy it isn’t happening to THEM that they are very forgiving!  Keep positive and go with the flow remembering that God is in charge.

My last podcast didn’t even remotely resemble my original plan, but the feedback I got was that the technological glitches and guest no shows made for a show that intrigued them so much that they were looking forward to the Say What You Mean Convention 2008-the event I was highlighting!

* Keep notes handy
When things go haywire, you can lose your place.  Keep notes on your show handy so you can refer back to what’s next after dealing with techie troubles!

* Keep a file of alternative information you can discuss
If technology won’t allow your guest’s mic to work or disconnects your guest from the phone line, you are usually left with a lot of free time on the air!  Keep a file of alternative things you can discuss so the transition from Techie Torment will be less stressful for you and much more smooth for your audience.

* When all else fails, remember that you can always delete the broadcast!
If the show really is the disaster you think it is after you listen to it, just remember that you can always delete it!  Knowing that as you are going through the show putting out fires can help you focus and put things into perspective.

Remember, the Lord gave you something to say…something that only you can say and something that someone out there really needs to hear.  Give Him the chance to set things right even when technology burps!

JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication.  Her Christian and humorous approach to communication skills has made her a sought after speaker.  JoJo’s articles have appeared in various homeschool magazines and websites such as Dr.  Her Say What You Mean curricula is endorsed by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and her eBook, Say What You Mean When You’re in Business, has been used by direct sales leaders and small business owners alike.  For more information, please visit