Presentation Tip: Uh-Oh!

What Happens If...?

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!


— Carol

Tales from the Field

Tales from the Field

Corporate Environments & Knoll were sponsors for Georgia’s International Interior Design Association’s (IIDA) 4th Annual DRESSED Event! As a sponsor, we had the privilege of presenting one of the awards to the design teams, on stage, and in front of hundreds of people – just like the Oscars!

This event was full of energy, music, creativity and courage. Designers and architects teamed up and produced a garment created from building materials and based on this year’s IIDA theme, “DRESSED in Seasons Thru World Changing Events.” They sent their one-of-a-kind garment down the runway in front of all of their peers! Wow!

Sponsors waited backstage to present the awards. With all the excitement, I was surprised to be there with some extremely stiff, wide-eyed, pale presenters! I looked around and said, “Ok guys, we need to feel this music and dance, NOW!” At first, everyone looked at me like I was crazy, but then after about a minute of me dancing, one by one they joined me. It didn’t take long before all of the presenters were laughing and moving around like we were background dancers at a J-Lo concert! When the curtain opened and those stage lights hit our faces, we strutted to the podium, looked out amongst the crowd, and did a wonderful job presenting each award!

Later that night, several of those presenters hugged me and said, “Oh my gosh, thank you, Hillarie, for making me do that! I was so nervous to go on stage in front of everyone, but after the dancing, I completely forgot about my fears and could actually enjoy what I was doing up there!”

Dancing, or just moving and shaking before you present, ramps your energy up and settles your nerves down! That’s just one of the tips that Graceworks taught me, and I love sharing it with anyone who will dance with me.

Hillarie Robbins
Sales Representative
Corporate Environments / Atlanta, GA

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