"Speak for Yourself" - Karen's Short & Pithy Quarterly Newsletter
Go back to list
Karen's Top 7 Speech Disaster Moments: The Art of Regrouping
By Karen Cortell Reisman
Regroup and even capitalize on your presentation calamities from reading my "You Won't Believe It Happened" speech moments from across the years!
- Dalai Lama walks into the speech venue.
Well, Hello Dalai! The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto hosts the convention. The Dalai Lama is rumored to be arriving soon. Nobody shows up for my speech. They're all on the mezzanine waiting for him to arrive! I head to the mezzanine too. We all clap when His Holiness the Dalai Lama enters.
Solution: If your listeners are distracted by fire alarms, famous people, or announcements - you MUST stop and address the distraction. No one is listening to you.
- Attendee goes into a diabetic coma during keynote.
Twenty minutes into my presentation a gentleman on the fifth row collapses.
Solution: You STOP and address the situation from the lectern. You ask the organizer to get involved and you tell your audience to quietly talk while the situation is being addressed. You do not keep speaking.
- A/V technician disappears - A/V breaks down.
Just when I want the A/V tech to play the video... he's vanished.
Solution: Have a Plan B. Can you talk without your PowerPoint? Can you continue without showing your video? Can you just turn up the lights and talk with your participants? Yes. Yes. Yes. Have a Plan B and bring your notes in hard copy.
- Computer gets stolen.
Do not leave your computer unattended, even if you think your session host is babysitting your technology.
Solution: Learn from my mistakes! Always bring your visuals and notes on a backup thumb drive.
- Two letters of the organization's name are transposed.
I'm speaking to 100 male sales people. I mix up the "N" and the "D". "Dan" is now "Nad". You take it from there.
Solution: Always, always, always pronounce your clients' names and their organizations correctly. Or find the humor...
- Computer blows up.
What a sinking feeling when your beloved computer smells like smoke, sounds like a baby rattle, and looks black forever more.
Solution: Same as for #4. In addition - bring a surge protector and plug into that first.
- Skirt falls down.
I sneeze. Button pops off tight skirt. BAD moment!
Solution: You give three speeches every time you open your mouth. The one in your head. The one you give. The perfect one going home in the car. I said to my steering wheel, "You certainly got more than
you paid for." In these situations, find the humor and go on. Also, wear elastic.
Most Popular Speak For Yourself® Blog Posts this Quarter:
How Do You Present Bad News? What We Can Learn from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
How Do I Get Over the Fear of Public Speaking?
Presentation Training: 5 Annoying Habits Presenters Do
Contact Karen's Office:
Download Karen's vCard
Back to Top