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How to think on your feet

By July 27, 2017December 8th, 2017No Comments

We’ve all been there. You’ve prepared for that important meeting or presentation like a pro. You’ve checked and rechecked your slides. Arrived early, pumped and ready. And then it happens. Something goes wrong.

So other than inwardly cursing, what do you do?

When I’m doing a speech or interview and something goes wrong, I always have a laugh about it – say “Damn, I wasn’t expecting that”. You have to be prepared to roll with it! I was speaking at a conference a few weeks ago and my clicker wasn’t working. I pretended that I had a shotgun and I “shot” it in the air when needed the AV guys at the back to change slides. Not very ‘PC’ but I just did what needed to be done. The audience laughed, I laughed and we got through.

It’s always good to think how you might be able to keep an audience relaxed when technical issues crop up, as they will! I always have two or three anecdotes up my sleeve as back-ups. I recently spoke at a conference where the slides wouldn’t progress, and the AV guys started swarming around. I shared a couple of funny stories from my Inca trek.

Hold on to your sense of humour in that moment. I spoke at Google recently and the intro video wasn’t working. I said “Of all places, you’d think Google would have their AV together. Again, not very PC – but you can get away with stuff that you wouldn’t normally get away with during a speech (though I would never advocate doing this sort of stuff at a filmed event!).

And then there’s those inevitable curveball questions. They can be awkward and embarrassing for you, the audience and the MC.  My advice: deliver your presentation to someone who doesn’t know the subject matter. Get them to ask 4 questions and come up with responses. Next time when someone asks a curveball question say, “Good question. I’m not sure how to answer that, but I know x…….”.

Good luck with it champs!

Until next time,



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