Presentations are hard, I’ll grant you. And I’m not talking about performing them.

There are a lot of rules to keep in mind, and a lot of guidelines that you need to take into account if you don’t want yours to look amateurish or be unwatchable. I’m not interested in getting into those details here- there are better presenters that do a better job of writing about what to do and not do.

I’m here to offer some other advice- something I’ve not seen much text about. It’s about using tech in a presentation.

Presentations are about engaging the audience. That’s it. There’s no second thing. If you fail with that, nothing else you do matters. As such, every decision you make should be based on that first criteria. So when you pick the tech that you’re going to use in a presentation, you need to focus on the engagement of the audience. Ask yourself: Will my use of this tech further engage my audience? Be thoughtful about how you answer.

The audience doesn’t care what remote app you’re using, but they’ll care if you have to re-sync the bluetooth to it during the presentation. They don’t care if your computer is wired to the projector or wirelessly connected, but they’ll care if the wifi flakes out and they won’t talk to each other. If you’re going to use a website live, you better be sure it’ll load and function properly. If you’re going to play a YouTube video, you’d better be sure it’ll load and play quickly and at high res. If you’re doing an audience poll, it better work easily and smoothly with a group that’s likely never used it before.

Losing an audience happens quickly and without remorse. Any glitch, any bobble, any reason to check out and they will.

As a result of this, I keep the tech I use to an absolute minimum. Cables are better than wireless. Reliable is better than not. Saved to disk is better than live-on-the-web. Familiar is better than novel.