I spent yesterday morning watching a series of presentations, in a five start hotel, at an event hosted by a major international IT services company. A lot of time and effort had been spent trying to ensure the event was a success… However, as with so many things in life, even with the best made plans things go wrong!
During one of the breakout sessions the power to the data projector was cut. The audio visual crew scrambled into action, looking at each other before furiously checking plugs and connections. After several minutes of frowns as they took plugs out and put them back in their sockets they retreated to find other hotel staff to help them try and get the projector working again.
While this commotion went on around the presenter, thankfully for the audience, he kept his cool. After the AV staff left the room to find help he continued with what he had to say. He simply adjusted his delivery to reflect there were no slides to reference. He managed to do what so many presenters fail to do!! He kept the audience with him because he kept his cool. He could have easily got flustered, and if he had done so he would have lost the confidence and trust of the audience. Instead, he kept cool and delivered the rest of his presentation as best he could. The audience understood that he had no control over what happened to the projector, and in handling the situation as well as he did he kept the confidence of his audience and was able to still deliver his message to an appreciative audience. Turning a tricky situation to his advantage!
When you give a speech, especially one that involves using technology do have a plan B? An audience will forgive a “technical mishap” if you display the confidence to “work around” it. However, if you allow yourself to get visibly unsettled by something unexpected then your audience will lose their confidence in you. How can you stop the unexpected? You can’t! But, you can have a “Plan B” so if the unexpected happens you can handle the situation confidently. You’ll still share your message with the audience and maybe earn you’ll earn a few extra kudos in the process.
P.S. They did get the projector working again – at the end of the session!