to Handle the Unexpected When Presenting
matter how much preparation weve put into our presentation, no matter
how carefully weve paid attention to the details, and no matter
how confidently we walk onto the stage or podium, Murphys Law will
catch up with us and create an unexpected event or experience when we
are presenting. How should we handle this without letting it turn into
Practice for the unexpected! Realizing that it will someday happen to us, we must think of all of the unexpected crises that might occur and then practice how we will respond. My theory is that the more prepared we are, the fewer crises will happen. A well-known speaker had all of the power fail during his presentation to a huge group. This is a man who uses many overheads and, of course, a microphone. He asked if anyone had a flashlight or candle, and then proceeded to ask everyone to join him in a familiar song. Soon the power was restored and everyone in the audience loved him more than before. Other speakers I know have had audience members become ill, and one famous trainer started feeling ill himself, excused himself, went to the next room, and experienced a heart attack. Usually, if we are honest with our audience about what is happening, they will be extremely forgiving.
you can to avoid the unexpected! As in the previous scenarios mentioned,
the speaker had no control over the unexpected occurring, but there are
steps we can take in advance to cut down our chances of having to deal
with the unexpected. Arrive early for your presentation and check out
all of the A/V equipment. Now that there are so many presentations using
computer equipment this is doubly important. Another speaker told me once,
Never assume, always confirm. This goes for the equipment
to make sure you have what you need, for the handouts if someone is supposed
to make copies for you, for the address and time of your presentation
with complete directions on how to get there, and everything else you
need to make your presentation smooth and carefree.
Cope with unexpected travel problems! If you travel by air or rail as a speaker, you will definitely have to face missed or cancelled flights, layovers, and impossible connections. Thats why I suggest making every effort to give yourself an extra day for travel. The meeting planner will love you, as will your audience. I know speakers whose flights have been cancelled and to make sure they get to their speaking engagement, they rent a car and drive through the night. Thats the sign of a true professional.
Remember, always be a professional. Be prepared especially for the unexpected!
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