My dictionary describes a skit as a form of short sketch which mocks or parodies.
For us, however, a skit, is an elision of two words, one of which is fairly rude; skit is short for S**t Kit. What’s a Sh*t Kit? It’s your box of tricks as a presenter that you reach for when something goes wrong, with the words “Shit! Where’s my kit?”.
It’s the magic box with all your spares and backups in. It’s the place where you store the things you need to make sure The Show Must Go On; it’s what marks you out as a professional instead of a bumbling amateur!
So what’ in our skit? Well yours will be different, of course, so don’t take this too literally – but it’s a start. And don’t forget, we’re professional speakers, so we tend to go for overkill, just in case! (Oh, and before you ask, this isn’t the full list – I’ve just included the things I couldn’t leave out and some of the things no-one thinks of! )
- Projector. Yes, I know the venue said they’d got one and yes I know they said it was powerful enough to use with the lights on but… but sometimes venue staff have a different idea about this kind of thing.
- Extension cables. There’s something about architects that means they look at where presenters are going to want to stand and put the power sockets at the other side of the room.
- VGA and audio cables (long ones). …so you can have the laptop where you want it for your presentation, not where the length of the cable-that-comes-with-your-projector dictates it will be. Who says all presenters have to stand withing 1.5 metres of their projector!?
- Laptop. Always take your own, never use anyone else’s, so that you never have to spend any time wondering how to work it. Ever. (This is a sublist, actually, as we also have remote controls and so on in the laptop bag.)
- Fuses. Because the cheap things can have the biggest impact.
- Backups. (Yes, plural). Just because you think you’ve covered everything doesn’t mean you have. Slides on a memory stick, in old versions of powerpoint at the minimum!
- Mars Bar. Because you can’t perform well on low blood sugar. What’s more, the nerves of performing make things worse if you’re not fed properly. (Consider a toothbrush too, for after the Mars Bar!)
- Tape. We take electricians tape with us (as well as gaffa tape) to do a host of tiny little things. Last week, ours was used to hold cables in place underneath the table so they don’t hang in the way (looking bad and risking my tripping )
- Bib. Okay, well not exactly a bib as such, but something that allows us to eat and drink before we speak without worrying that we’re going to spill-and-spoil! A spare shirt, perhaps, or a sweater to wear as we eat… you get the idea?
- Pens – whiteboard and flipchart – and ooohhh yes, clearly labeled so they don’t get confused!
- Checklist. A simple list of all of the above to make sure nothing gets left behind. The simple things are the most easy to forget sometimes.
Like I said though, our presentations skit will be different from yours – so what do you carry?