We learned that good preparation is a secret ingredient to a successful presentation. But even if you have rehearsed well enough, do not expect too much. There may be unguarded moments during your presentation that will paint a flaw in the almost too perfect speech. Yet, an effective presenter is ready for any circumstance and possible occurrences.
A true professional knows how to handle unexpected and troubling situations. It is more of a conditioned mindset of waiting and preparing when it will come rather than asking if it will ever happen.
In learning good presentation skills, mastery of the structure and complete rehearsal is not all that there is. One should also know helpful tips when put in hot waters during a presentation. It is always a good thing to prepare for the worst so you can easily recover from an unexpected event.
Keep Your Composure
An amateur presenter may easily fluster and get disappointed when something unexpected happens during the presentation. And such a reaction is very evident to the audience on the facial expression and uneasy gestures. A faint sign of agitation will create a negative impression and this is not what we want to happen. A good technique to keep it unobvious is to maintain your poise and self-control.
For instance, you slightly trip as you walk past the room while explaining your topic. Collect yourself immediately and continue with the talk but you might want to say a little something like a dash of humor before commencing with your speech.
Expect some people from the audience to laugh or chuckle. It is a natural reaction to a situation like that. Do not let yourself be affected by it, though. Instead, deliver a good ‘ad lib’ to it. Say you were excited to reach for the stage and get back to the spotlight.
In keeping your composure, let a confident personality exude regardless of the situation. It should not falter in front of your audience. Whether it is a technical issue on your audio-visual aid or running out of marker ink or an echoing microphone, never lose composure.
Acknowledge the Unexpected to Yourself
It is not a good idea to just simply disregard any unexpected event that may occur in your presentation. Anything that is unexpected is not your intent so acknowledge the fact that occurrences like that happen. One simple way to do this is to give a quick comment on the event. It would be a lot better if the comment has humor in it. That way, your audience will appreciate your positive response to the situation.
A witty ‘ad lib’ is also a nice technique to recover from a humiliation. Make sure you deliver your gag in a witty, spontaneous, and professional manner. Then again, do not ignore the unexpected occurrence, but also do everything to get rid of it and redirect back the focus to the topic.
Why is it not a good thing to apologize to your audience during a messed up situation in your presentation? In the first place, there is nothing to apologize, unless it really inconvenienced them. Especially if the flaw came from your delivery, do not apologize profusely. Instead, correct it, and carry on with your talk.
For example, you unintentionally mentioned a grammatically incorrect phrase. Rephrase the statement with the correct construction this time and proceed with your explanation like a real pro does.
When asked a question and you do not know the answer, do not say sorry but let the audience feel that you take interest in the question and will be more than willing to research on the answer for them.
Professional presenters do now allow glitches to damage their credibility. But they turn these flaws into something positive and audience will find this manner of responding to a situation a professional one.
A true professional is always prepared especially during unexpected situations in a presentation. To reiterate the main point, even if you have rehearsed well enough, many things can still happen along the way. So, spontaneity and cleverness are not just mastered on the delivery but also in dealing with issues that will put you in hot waters.