At some point it is inevitable that something, outside of your control, will go wrong during your presentation. It could be a simple as the data projector failing to a fire alarm being triggered. I’ve had the data projector fail on me but I’ve haven’t yet experienced a fire alarm sounding while I speak – but I know someone who has experienced this. No matter what the event the audience will look to you and watch how you deal with it. They want to know that you have everything under control – admitedly there is little you can do to control a fire alarm – but you can instil authority and confidence by remaining calm and not running of the stage screaming “We’re all going to die!!!!”.
For many other difficulties or challenges you may face you can have a plan B in your back pocket ready to use. A little thought about how you’ll handle a situation is all thats required most of the time. Your audience knows what you can influence and what you can’t, they won’t expect you to solve something thats outside of your control. Simply admit the challenges you are encountering, and proceed to try and get them fixed – preferably by someone else. As the presenter its your responsibility to “keep the show on the road”. Don’t let your audience sit aimlessly for too long while you get buried in the detail of the problem. Instead try to keep your presentation moving forward.
If you can maintain your composure and hande the challenge with composure and professionalism your audience will become forgiving and will become an ally to helping your presentation succeed. And, through the trying circumstances your reputation can be increased because you handled a difficult situation professionally and confidently.