You spend hours preparing your presentation to ensure you have the right amount of content for your allotted time and at the last minute your are told that your time has been cut short because:
- The speaker before you went over his or her time.
- There is a storm moving in and they need to wrap up early.
- People have flights to catch so you need to end early.
- The organizers are going to run an “Ice Breaker” in the middle of your presentation.
- You need to give people a 30 minute break in the middle of the 3 hour presentation to allow people to go to the vendor area for coffee and to support the vendors.
That sucks. Deal with it. Before you start, and during the breaks, hide slides and cut out some material. DO NOT blast through slides during the presentation says, “I don’t have time to cover this.” DO NOT throw the organizer, or the previous speaker under the bus by complaining about your reduced time during your presentation.
You show up really early to set the room up and test the AV. You spend 15 minutes setting the lights so they are at the ideal level. When one of the people from the host group steps up to do the introduction you see someone sitting next to the lighting control reach over to change the lighting. They see you trying to stop them but just waive you off and change the lighting in the entire room. That sucks. Deal with it. Go with the new lighting set up until the first break then go over and see if you can reset it to the ideal level and politely ask the person to leave the lights where they are now set.
During the night the power in the hotel where you are doing an 8 hour workshop goes out. At 8:00 a.m. there is still no power in the ballroom. If you leave the back doors open there is enough light coming in from the windows that people can see to find a seat and see you at the front of the room but, there is no power for the projector and the sound. That sucks. Deal with it. Start on time and deliver great the material without the PowerPoint until the power comes back on.
The seminar organizer guarantees you that they have a sound system to connect with your computer so you can play the videos in your presentation. When you arrive you discover they have two small computer speakers from the early 1980’s that will allow the two people seated directly in front of them (if there was anyone in the front row) to hear, but no one else. That sucks. Deal with it. That may mean cutting out the videos and running the presentation without them. DO NOT blast through the videos saying, “This is a really great video but the sound system here sucks so I can’t show it.” Just delete the videos and don’t say anything to the audience.
You spent hours putting together a visually stimulating presentation using high quality pictures and graphics. When you show up you discover the projector in the room is 20 years old and the filters have never been cleaned. Your beautiful presentation now looks like crap when it is projected onto the screen. That sucks. deal with it. You can make a good natured joke about the age of the projector or the colors on the slides but don’t dwell on it. Your PowerPoint is a visual aide. It should never be the focal point of the presentation.
Stuff happens as a presenter. If you travel to teach you will face all of these challenges and many more. You teach your officers to improvise, adapt and overcome, so practice what you preach. Remember Rule #2 – No Whining, No Complaining, No Excuses. Just deal with it and give the people who attended a great experience despite the challenges. Look for the good and see it as an opportunity to grow as a presenter.
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