2 weeks ago I experienced more technical difficulties than I have ever had in years. On the Saturday before the virtual book tour began CommunityBible.com overloaded servers and shut down for about an hour. There was nothing I could do as I just waited on the hosting company to fix the issue. Then on my first day of the Virtual Book Tour I could not even login to interact and chat with participants. I was frustrated to say the least. The reality is that technical difficulties happen to everyone. While I don't expect to have these same issues again, I will have others that I can't anticipate in advance and I must be ready when they do occur. Here are some tips to both avoid technical difficulties and effectively respond when they do happen:
- Double check everything - I have been to many churches who don't even do a sound check before their weekend services. When it comes to technology double checking systems is ALWAYS a good idea!
- Create a backup plan - you never want to use it, but think through what could go wrong and always have a backup plan in place. What would you do if your sound system goes out 10 minutes before the service or a camera malfunctions? It might not be a perfect solution, but having a backup plan can help you sleep much better at night.
- Restart often - I'm not an IT guy, but I've found that restarting my computer resolves 95% of computer issues that I have. This goes for most technology. Leaving it on and running all of the time is a recipe for disaster. Restart systems regularly.
- Stay calm - when things do go wrong, stay calm. Honestly, on the Monday of the Book Tour I was tempted to cancel the event and quit. I had taken vacation time from work and had hundreds trying to login unsuccessfully. I did not stay calm and any decision I was ready to make in my stress was a bad one. Luckily I had great people helping me who kept me calm and helped make a smooth transition into day 2.
- Know who to contact - make a list of anything that can go wrong and who you would contact if it does. Don't wait until the technical issue happens to figure this out.
- Be patient - technology solutions are not always fast and immediate like we would hope. Sometimes you have to wait and this can be the hardest part. When you have done all that you can, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and be patient. A lack of patience often leads to even greater issues.