Jul 6, 2012

Managing awkward moments in your presentation

Imagine this scenario. You are making a presentation to a large gathering. You are standing on the stage and talking. Suddenly the power goes off. Your projector is off.

The generator will take 30 seconds to start. The projector will take a lot of time after that to restart. There is an awkward silence in the room. What will you do?

Answer this question before reading further.

This happened to a speaker recently and his response was outstanding. This is what we call thinking on one's feet. Few minutes before the power cut, the presenter was talking about uninterrupted power supply in his factory. The factory runs all day long and the generator is so good that when the power fails, there is no interruption. Not even for a second. Hence the machines never stop in his factory. This was one of the 10 things he had said about his plant.

When the power went off, he was quite for a while. Not knowing what to do. He could have apologised or felt nervous or kept quite. Instead he chose to use this opportunity to explain one of his earlier made points. He explained to the audience, that if this were his factory the projectors would not have switched off and the presentation would have gone on smoothly. The audience really saw and understood what uninterrupted power supply means.

You might call it good luck but the guy had the sense to use a bad situation to his advantage. Instead of apologising or keeping mum or feeling bad, you should think of ways to keep the audience with you. Do not lose them. If you can pull of something like what our factory manager did, great.

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