My client wanted to broadcast my to a satellite office and to some of their team members who were working at home.

In the room were about a hundred employees from a and PR firm who were attending an annual day.

We have all the we need and a good crew. No worries!

I'm sure you know how this goes!

I got about five minutes in when my disappeared from the screen.

We're on it! They said.

That was followed by the predictable signing out and signing back into the software, switching of laptops, migration of the slide via flash key, etc.

A few minutes passed and my audience grew restless.

The conversation and chatter increased and I didn't want to end up being that annoying teacher who yells at the class to pay attention when things got fixed.

I still had so I began to tell a joke:

In a small town, they open up the zoo and find that their beloved gorilla has passed away of natural causes during the night.

The joke—I won't share the whole today—kept the room quiet and engaged, and since my topic was storytelling, I had license to tell any kind of story I wanted.

I always have four or five terrible bad pun story jokes in my back pocket just in case.

By the I finished, the was fixed and I continued with my without having to re-engage a lost audience.

Plus I got a grateful look from the CEO who really wanted her session to be a success.

When issues arise—and they will—come prepared to keep the audience engaged with a joke, a story, a game, or an exercise.