Pro tips: Bring your own gear

Recently I was asked to speak at a conference, and in the pre event discussions we talked about set up and equipment needs. I was asked to bring my own laptop, and the projector would be provided. Since I rarely use PowerPoint visuals, I was able to assure them this wasn’t necessary.

When I asked about videoing my session, I was told they would like to video and get my consent to use the video. Since the content was pretty specific to this group, I had no problem with them handling it. I did make sure they agreed to provide me the raw footage.

In the session preceding mine, I noticed they had someone manning a video camera, and that she was following the speaker throughout the presentation. We each had a 45 minute breakout-style presentation, and in the adjacent room they were doing the same thing.

When I was setting up, a young lady came over to mike me up, and had me do a quick sound check. Since I hate wearing two microphones, I left my audio recorder and mike in my bag. Know where this is going?

About half way through the session, I noticed mike-girl pointing her phone at me from the side. I just figured she was grabbing a couple of stills. During one of the audience exercises she comes to me and says, “let me know when you’re going to start again. My battery is almost dead.”

“What’s that?”

“We ran out of space on the video camera, so I’m catching the rest of your session with this.” And she holds out her phone.


Lesson learned? Bringing your own stuff isn’t enough. Even when someone says they have it covered, go ahead and duplicate with your own audio/video.

It may not turn out to be a duplicate after all…

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