How do your prepare for unexpected challenges?

 I hope you weren’t too inconvenienced last Tuesday when the power went out across much of South East Queensland, if you live in that part of the world. 

For those who don’t live in SEQ, the problem was extensive after a power generator caught fire and the outages covered over 375 kilometers along the east coast.

I was in the middle of conducting a sales training workshop. As you can imagine not particularly convenient to lose my presentation. But as I’d prepared a few handouts prior, (we joked it was an analogue version), the timing worked and we were able to continue without missing a beat.

It highlighted the fact of how important it was to be prepared for contingencies.

It isn’t the first time I’ve had to switch tack in a presentation when there was a loss of power, microphone failure, a PowerPoint that wouldn’t connect, an ambulance being called and dealing with a collapsed participant, marking pens didn’t work, or an obnoxious audience trainee who was determined to make everyone’s life a misery…including me…the trainer.

How would you respond to any of those situations? It can be tricky to not panic, remain calm and continue to be seen as the expert in the room.

Leading Basketball coach, John Wooden quoted…”Success comes from being prepared”

These three tips may help you in handling the UNEXPECTED during a presentation:

  • Stay Calm

    Even with ultimate preparation, unforeseen issues can arise. Panicking only clouds your judgment and impairs your insight. 

    You may try to remedy your mistake by doing everything at once, or apologizing to the audience, but before you do that, step back from your thoughts and rationalize the situation.

    Keep your composure. The show must go on.

Don’t lose your credibility by responding poorly to unpredictable mishaps.

  • Come Prepared

    Flash drives may flounder, batteries may drain, and files may get corrupted. Impress your audience by solving these uncontrollable crises with enthusiasm.

    Have a backup plan to address the problem in case it comes up. Bring a spare flash drive, pack extra batteries, and keep duplicate copies of your files. What else are cloud-based drives for?

  • Don’t Dwell on The Problem

    Pointing fingers to who or what caused the problem won’t get you anywhere. Stay professional and focus on solving it. Provide an immediate solution along with a composed response and anticipate your listeners’ behavior.

   The way you handle yourself on stage in the face of such challenges will boost your speaking credibility.

If you are keen to learn how to skillfully speak in public, so you can deal with unexpected challenges with confidence. Click on the link below for information and to take advantage of the early bird prices for the upcoming 1-Day Professional Speaking Workshop.