Presentation Pitfalls

Have you ever made a mistake during a presentation you were
giving? You might be surprised to learn that even seasoned executives have had
embarrassing moments when speaking in front of a group. Our company asked
advertising and marketing executives to describe their most awkward presentation
experiences. Whether the result of nerves, technical glitches, clothing gone
awry or just plain bad luck, it seems that, sometimes, what can go wrong
will go wrong. Here are some examples:

  • I was a little nervous and
    chewing on the end of a felt pen. When I got up to speak I didn’t realize the
    pen had broken and I had ink all over my face. My teeth were black, my mouth was
    black; I had marker everywhere and didn’t realize it!
  • I was in a meeting and my hosiery
    fell down. I was mortified and stayed seated until the meeting was over.
  • Our senior executives slip fell during a presentation.
  • I spilled a freshly made cup of
    coffee across the boardroom table, and it poured onto the client’s lap.
  • We were displaying a TV spot on
    videotape, and my coworker hit Record instead of Play and taped over it.
  • When the account manager sat down
    at the conference table, the back of the chair broke, and she was trapped
    between the chair and the wall.

Careful preparation can help prevent some, but not all,
mishaps.  Here are some tips for recovering after a slip-up:

  • Remain calm. Take a deep breath
    and focus on keeping your composure. 
  • Acknowledge the problem.
    Address the situation in a humorous way if possible.  A quick one-liner can
    make everyone feel more at ease.
  • Take a break. If
    its a matter that could take a few minutes to
    resolve, such as a technical glitch or a spill, suggest a quick intermission.

Source: Robert Half –

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