Newsflash: You no longer have to stand in the dark. Any multimedia projector packing at least 2500 lumens has enough candlepower to project a visible image in a brightly lit room. You should know this by now, but oddly, many people still stand in the dark while the PowerPoint plays on.
If your eyes glazed over at the mention of lumens, then hold on to your seat because the Luddite in you isn’t going to like this: You should know the capabilities of every type of technology in the room. At the very least, you should know how to turn the projector on/off, sync up your computer, and advance your slides using a remote control.
For example, If 90% of your audience has cell phones (common enough these days), then let the audience know how they can use their cell phones to respond to a poll or feed questions to you. If you are brave, project the feed onto a screen behind you (this is called a “twitterfall”. Ain’t that cute?) so all can participate in the “back channel” discussion – the conversation going on in the room while you are speaking. [Note: I was just quoted in article about this at ragan.com – check it out here!]
Can’t make it to the meeting due to a volcanic dust cloud covering European airspace? Skype it in – but only if you are extremely comfortable using the technology. That means practice using the technology – not just once, but a few times. Oh, and have a backup plan for ANY technology that you intend to use as good ol’ Murphy might have different plans for you!