How to give a presentation when disaster strikes

It had to happen eventually. Until then I had no problems with my presentations; all came off without a hitch. As one who gives presentations frequently and who aspires to be a professional speaker, I know that I will experience a meltdown someday. That someday was this past Wednesday evening during a webinar I was hosting. Even though I trained myself for such an event, it still proved to be a challenging but instructional experience. It prompted me to put together some thoughts on how to give a presentation when disaster strikes.

The best time to plan for any disaster, of course, is during the quiet times. Now is the time to review the steps to take in the event you suffer a disaster during a business presentation. Play these steps over in your mind – visualize them – repeatedly. That will help ensure that when the inevitable occurs, you respond pretty much to script. You can expect some anxiety – the shock of the incident really hits you – but you can minimize its effects through proper response.

1. Maintain your composure. When something significant occurs – say, your computer crashes (like mine did) or the projector dies – it is a shock to your system. Part of you wants to panic. You realize the significance of what has happened and envision your presentation collapsing. It’s an embarrassing and humiliating moment. You are the presenter, after all, and those people are counting on you.

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