Techno-Gremlins Attacked My Copywriting Webinar

Webinar techno-gremlinsHave you ever been attacked by technical gremlins (or techno-gremlins as I call them)?

It’s not pretty. You’re online, presenting a webinar. You feel good, you’re sharing great tips and everything seems “hunky dory.”

Then, you realize there’s a dead silence. No feedback, no static, nothing!

Oh, oh! There’s trouble in paradise.

That’s what happened to me last week during my copywriting webinar. And boy, was my face red!

There I was talking and showing my slides, but no one could hear me.

My hosts and I had agreed that we’d use our cell phones if anything went awry. However, when my cell phone rang, I was more concerned about it interfering with the recording and totally forgot about the system we’d set in place.

I was almost done with the presentation when I realized what happened. I shut down my PowerPoint, checked my cell and the webinar chat box and there were the messages saying, “Debra, call back in.”

Alas, by that time, it was too late.

At first I was not only disappointed, but embarrassed. I had let my hosts and attendees down. They’d all taken valuable time out of their day and were left hanging.

Be it phone lines, WiFi connections, or those gnarly techno-gremlins doing their thing, the bottom line was – at that moment – I had no control of the situation. What was done, was done.

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. – Brian Tracy

So, I took Brian Tracy’s advice. I took a deep breath and changed my attitude. Then, I emailed all the attendees, thanked them (and my gracious hosts Cheri and Richard Martin) for their patience and understanding. And, rescheduled the webinar for this week.

How about you? Have you technical gremlins ever interfered with your plans and left you feeling out of control? If so, share your story below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks and here’s to your sweet success.

Image source:

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. This is the story of my life LOL If it makes you feel any better, I was just one participant of several hundred in a webinar last week in which the host’s entire system crashed. It happens to the best of us! I think you have a great attitude, though 🙂
    Kristen from The Road to Domestication recently posted…How to Store Excess Bedroom ItemsMy Profile

  2. We’ve all be there and YES… your attitude makes all the difference. One question though… why wasn’t I invited 🙂

    Technology will get better and better so we’ll have fewer problems… but I sure do wish it would hurry up – LOL
    Brian McDaniel recently posted…Leads For Network Marketing | Network Marketing Leads Made SimpleMy Profile

    • Brian, my apologies! I thought you were invited, but the good news is that you can attend this week. Since we had those technical gremlins last week, we rescheduled.
      If you’d like to join us, you can register here.
      “See” you on the call.

  3. Oh yes, I have been there as a host, interviewer and interviewee. My biggest struggle is not technical. It is my Dog, Danny. His bark is quite loud, so I have to plan around that and other things. Behind the scenes can be interesting. Sorry you felt bad, but you also learned some great stuff too! Every time we get on stage in person or virtually it is an opportunity to grow.
    Stephanie recently posted…Simple Scheduling Tool: When is Good?My Profile

    • Behind the scenes can be interesting Stephanie. When I was on Kaua`i, I worried about the roosters going off in the background. You never knew when there might be one lurking outside your window.
      That seems minor now in comparison to totally losing the audio. As you suggested, both online & off, there are opportunities to grow.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

  4. Two things come to mind, Debra:

    1. Why do things go so well so often? To my thinking, we’d all be better off assuming the unexpected will occur. Just think ~ we’d develop quick thinking, creativity and resilience, all of which you displayed in the way you’ve responded to this situation. It could have had you screaming for the vodka or a gallon of ice cream! Instead, you’ve used it as an opportunity to convey the human side of all the planning and expectation that goes into a presentation creating a stronger connection with your audience. Good for you!!

    2. Here’s how one of those situations happened to me, pre-teleseminar days: I was in a production of ‘Mame!’, community theater style. During one scene, women were supposed to pantomime drinking and smoking in a dance hall until tango music came on and our partners would arrive from behind the scene to dance with the women on stage. So, I pretended to do all this as, one by one, the men show up, take their partner’s hand and begin to dance. But mine didn’t arrive. So, I started looking at my imaginary watch, tap my foot in anger and pretended this was part of the planned routine until my guy ran out from back stage where he’d been engaged in conversation and forgot about his musical cue. Could have been embarrassing and I could have been pretty angry at this guy! Instead, I just pretended it was all part of the show and then, I married my dance partner!

    • Thanks Andrea. Your “Mame” story reminds me of a tap dance recital I was in (as an adult). Our teacher said, “If you make a mistake, don’t sweat it. Make it look like you did it on purpose.” So, when I missed a step, I did just what she said. Later, when I met my friends backstage and told them about it, they said they had no clue I had missed a beat – they thought it was all part of the dance routine.
      How cool and fortunate that you and your dance partner became life partners! I love the happy ending.

  5. This happened to me yesterday. My slide deck wouldn’t upload and so I decided to break it into two parts. I accidentally saved the wrong version and didn’t realize it until the middle of my presentation. I made it through the webinar – but had to go back and recreate slides so I share them as handouts. I was so bummed and frustrated. Lesson learned: keep back up master documents in a separate file.
    Tai Goodwin recently posted…5 Ways Coaches, Consultants, and Holistic Practitioners Can Use Google HangoutsMy Profile

    • It is frustrating isn’t it Tai. However, sounds like you came up with a solution and, as we can do with any mistake, you learned something new.
      Thanks for sharing. And here’s to smooth sailing in the future. Techno-gremlins be forewarned!

  6. LOL… This has happened to me more times than I care to admit, Debra! Yes, there needs to be a commitment to improving…to getting better. And that sense of humor we have about it conveys a confidence and strength that is more important than any technical glitch. Confidence equals power!
    Larry Hochman recently posted…Feeling Like A Little Kid AgainMy Profile

    • Thanks Larry. The good news is that since the “crash” last week, I’ve revisited my content, fine tuned it and added some more to it. So, I’m now looking forward to the rescheduled session.

  7. I’ve stupidly down a radio interview or two on the cell phone in public, to which I was distracted, and had everything from yelling to wind in the background. i recall chasing my notes across a parking lot once while live on the air!

  8. yes we all have been there. I did a webinar once where people could only hear every second word. Its very distracting people messaging you constantly telling you that and there is literally NOTHING you can do about it.
    Jenni Ryan recently posted…Build an Empire Start with WhyMy Profile

    • That would have driven me crazy Jenni. I guess an alternative might have been to record the session separately and then send the attendees a link to a replay without the glitch. Or, to offer a repeat presentation (if time allowed).

  9. What I am most impressed with Debra, was your reaction to the live situation and how you handled it. I would know what I should do, but wonder if I would have had the presence of mind to handle it in such an amazing way as you did. To me it shows composure and confidence in your own self. How you handled that situation goes a long ways in determining your success. Thanks for sharing.
    John Logan recently posted…Motivation – Is It In Our DNA?My Profile

  10. Hi Debra- Enen though I couldn’t make it live, I was actually wondering how it was going for both you and the participants. I’m sorry to hear about that techno-gremlin:-) (cute name) Sounds like you road that wave out like a trooper. I’ve never hosted a call, not yet that is:-) but as a participant I have many times experienced not being able to join a call. Thanks for sharing! xoDana
    Dana Mallon recently posted…The Benefits of Boredom and Dangers of Directing ChildhoodMy Profile

  11. Debra you are such a pro! I probably would have stumbled all over myself! LOL! Bravo! Well done! 🙂
    Belinda Rose recently posted…So, What’s Your Story?My Profile

    • Belinda, I don’t think you really quite know what you’ll do until you’re in the situation. I was so frustrated at first, but there really wasn’t much I could do at that point. So, had to go with the flow and make the best of it.

  12. The more webinars, teleseminars and google hangouts I do, the less these occasional blips bug me. Your attitude is right on!
    Tea Silvestre recently posted…More Stories Means More Readers (Plus, 15 Stories You Should Be Telling)My Profile

    • Thanks Tea. Most of my colleagues are beginning to feel the same way. Technical glitches just seem to “come with the territory.”
      It felt like a big blip at the time, but c’est la vie.

  13. Hey Debra. That’s the story of my life. I think I have gremlins living in my computer. I have never hosted a webinar but have attended many where these things happen. It can be frustrating, but most people understand that some things happen beyond our control. There is always another day.
    Good luck with your next one….
    Liz Delaney recently posted…Australia and New Zealand’s ANZAC DAYMy Profile

    • Thanks Liz. LOL – I know what you mean when it comes to gremlins in our computers (sometimes I think they have a mind of their own).
      The encore presentation went “smooth as silk.”

  14. Often lost in our high speed world…grace. You were gracious, starting with self. A super reminder to not give in to panic. Love this.
    Jacqueline Fairbrass recently posted…Save Time and Money by House Cleaning the Natural WayMy Profile

  15. Awww Debra… that stinks! No, I have not had this happen to me yet and pray it never does. I admire your grace in the situation! Thanks for sharing your story 😉

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