July 2010 | See all articles in this issue
When presentations go wrong...
A recent feature by Carmine Gallo in CIO.com and excerpted in MacWorld and on lifehacker.com noted the technical glitches Apple founder Steve Jobs ran into recently when he was announcing the new iPad. While it’s refreshing to know that even a pro like Jobs can run into PowerPoint glitches, it’s equally humbling to see how seamlessly he handles them.
According to Gallo, there are just 3 steps in a graceful Jobs recovery.
1. Practice until you are more than perfect. Jobs is legendary for his preparation. You should be too. Know your materials inside and out, so you can talk without slides. Have a back-up plan. Is there a relevant – and entertaining – anecdote you can tell until the glitch is fixed?
2. “Entertaining” is a key word. You do not need to sing and dance, but good presenters are comfortable enough (practice, practice, practice) to deal with imperfections, like a video that does not load or a slide out of sync. If these bumps throw you too far off, it’s tough to recover. Jobs is comfortable enough to poke a little fun at himself, at the same time noting out loud what the problem is so the resident IT people can fix it.
3. Go with it. The audience may never even be aware of some glitches, so don’t point each one out. Equally important, there’s nothing wrong with a few moments of silence as you think thru your next move. What seems like an eternity to you is rarely a big deal to the rest of the audience.
Carmine Gallo is the author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. For more information in this topic, go to http://www.macworld.com/article/151903/2010/06/stevejobs_presentations.html?lsrc=rss_main or http://lifehacker.com/5563622/steve-jobs-strategies-for-overcoming-presentation-glitches
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