In my third speaking engagement last week, I was (pleasantly) surprised when I showed up to the facility that a) they had a sound system already set up, b) they had a man on call to help me (the positive side of a union shop), c) everything worked with minimal hassle. All of these are not normal in the typical venue. So with ease of mind, I had time to actually eat (Quiznos service in small town Illinois is a blog entry for another time) before the program.It came as a fairly large surprse, then, when I opened the program and heard a fairly significant rattle in the speaker/mic/projection equipment. It was more than casually distracting. I swapped out the battery quickly (~5 seconds — I had that scouted well) and felt sure it would go away. But it did not. Faced with an unknown problem, a lengthy troubleshoot, and the very real possibility it was here to stay, I opted instead to use my natural voice to project to the ~125 in attendance. Not ideal, but it rolled well with the punches and I got the program done.Later in the program, the projector decided to throw up a warning about airflow restrictions. Since I had not read the manual (who does?) for this particular machine, I was again fortunate that a heavy blow on it solved the problem.But I should have known better. My “Testing 1-2-3. Testing 1-2-3. Yep it works.” sanity check of the sound system did not put it through the paces of inflection and projection it would have to endure in a seminar. Turning a projector on doesn’t mean it will stay on (side note, you do know where that spare bulb is, don’t you?). Testing equipment must be done in the same conditions that it will be used in. Had I had a larger audience, a longer program, or less favor from the Almighty, I may very well have invited disaster when it needn’t have shown up.
Test any and all equipment to the extent you will use it.