Your Next BIG Speech
The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is “Always be Prepared.” This is a very wise motto, and one that’s appropriate for life in general. Water, Kleenex, snacks, hand sanitizer, Tylenol, condoms…it’s always good to be ready for anything. Whether you are ushering kids around the zoo, getting stuck in traffic, or standing before an unruly crowd – be ready for anything.
I give 40-50 presentations a year. Not all of them are knock’m dead TED talks. But I hit way more than I miss. I’ve talked my way through everything from 3-minute pop-up presentations to 8-hour communication workshops. I have also sat through countless others. As you may guess, they don’t all go smoothly. Allow me to list a few of the most recent SNAFUs I’ve witnessed: projector bulb burned out, no Internet access, computer security restricted access to speaker’s presentation, projector didn’t work, sound didn’t work, no microphone for large auditorium, expected speaker no-showed, speaker accidently erased presentation, Windows updated mid-presentation and locked out talk, and presenter stung by a bee. Ok, last one didn’t really happen, but you must admit weird shit happens during talks. How you deal with it will ultimately decide your success. If you’ve practiced, you should be able to successfully present without the visual aids. Surprisingly, sometimes if things go really wrong, the presentations actually improve and become more memorable. Overcoming adversary is very endearing to your audience. Remember to handle your situation and your attitude with humbleness, calmness, dignity, and resolve. Grace under pressure. Don’t mess yourself. You could always reschedule if things go too awry.
Avoid the Avoidable
One aspect of presentation practice and preparation I wanted to make sure was addressed is software incompatibility. I’m a Mac user. Most venues I present at use PC. Both operating systems use Microsoft PowerPoint as a presentation software. However, there is an accepted and readily acknowledged understanding that just because your presentation works fine on one system, doesn’t mean it will work right on the other. I always test the .PPT(x) file on the software version and operating system I will be presenting on prior to giving the talk. While leaving myself time to fix the incompatibility, if issues arise. If issues are insurmountable, I recommend using PDF formatted slides instead. You know what? You should probably make a PDF backup anyway for all your talks anyway. This way you can embed your fonts and other features in your talk and you won’t have to worry about any hinky projection errors.
Parenting & Public Speaking. Together
The behaviors, experiences, and techniques parents use everyday can improve YOUR NEXT BIG SPEECH. Whether it be using silly voices or just playing with the kids, these actions improve self-confidence, stage presence, and audience engagement. And that’s just the beginning…