Welcome to the Hot Seat: Everything is your Fault!

December 2, 2009

The best way to become a great presenter -quickly- is to take responsibility for your presentation. No, wait, maybe you don't understand. You need to take responsibility for your presentation.



At the end of the day, when it comes to your next presentation, you're on your own. When the PowerPoint goes blue screen, the projector shoots sparks, the audience is full of drunk people, the earth begins to shake, the sky begins to fall, the only person you can rely on is, well, you! And when your presentation begins to resemble a gnarly car wreck or an unfortunate tete-a-tete with a grizzly bear, everyone -also – will be looking right at you.

When it's all said and done, you need to be a good Boy or Girl Scout: You need to be prepared...for anything. Here are some great tips - learned from hard lessons – that you should commit to memory before your next presentation.

The Case of the Missing PowerPoint
Whether your projector goes down, your pres gets erased, your outlet has no power, one of these days – perhaps sooner than later – you'll find yourself having to present without any technology. You always have to be ready to fly solo and present with just your notes and your amazing ability to deliver an experience all by yourself.

Environmental Collapse
Although you may have imagined presenting in a space that resembled an the Palace of Versailles, you find that you are actually in something resembling a gray closet, with no air conditioning, next to a railroad track. The conditions you'll be presenting under will always be beyond your control. Bend like a reed, Grasshopper. Don't resist your surroundings, make them work for you!

Time Flies
Just like you have no control over the space you'll speak in, you have no control over time. After the other guy has hogged half of your slot, you should be able to break your presentation down to an “essential” version that will allow you to get your audience out at an announced time while still making your key points. This will also give you time to plot your revenge on the big-mouth who ate up your minutes.

Licensed to Ill
What if you get sick before a presentation? How are you supposed to move an audience with a nose full of snot, a throat full of phlegm and a head full of decongestants and antihistamines? The most important thing you can do is rest and hydrate. Assuming you've prepared for your presentation, you can now take it easy and save your energy. Drinking lots of water – or warm tea – will help to settle your cough and mask your scratchy throat. Pull yourself together! Like any great performer would tell you – the show must go on!

About the Author
Scott Schwertly is an epic storyteller.  Today, he owns and operates Ethos3 Communications, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki.

He may live in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs, but he calls San Diego home – the place of his beloved San Diego Chargers.  Scott has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.