It happens. And if it hasn’t happened, it will happen.
You know what I’m talking about – the PowerPoint goes black because you forgot to plug in the cord. You’re teaching that presenting isn’t about the graphics, but you’re in a dark movie theater with 60-foot graphics. The client is hosting the event at a baseball stadium, and you find yourself in the middle of your presentation serenaded with the National Anthem. Yeah, you’ve been there! And, we’ve been there!
What to do when the unexpected happens? Ignore your inner critic – that’s the biggie! When your brain starts screaming, “Oh, no! My presentation is tanking,” shift your focus to helping your audience stay focused on the message rather than the glitch. Here’s how:
1. Stay calm. Ha!
2. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room or try to hide him. He’s there.
3. Know whom you have on your team. Let the most levelheaded person handle logistics.
4. Make a decision to correct the problem and stick with it.
5. Ramp up your energy. It’s contagious! If you’re excited about your message, your audience also will be excited!
6. Be real. If you speak from your heart, no one will care about power cords or giant projection screens.
7. Trust the present moment. Remember, your audience has no idea what you planned – only you do. They are not judging your success on whether you accomplished your plans.
8. Laugh. Don’t complain. Don’t criticize. Handle the situation with grace and a little laughter.
Sometimes, stuff just happens! And, your audience sympathizes – they’ve been there too. Well-handled glitches have often opened doors to great moments and opportunities. I bet you’ve got a story! If you do, please share!