A really bad presentation… We all have bad days

I’ve given hundreds of presentations and even now I can have a bad “here” day. Something happens and your brain scrambles.  I started this morning with a clear idea of what I wanted to get across. A good start. A good target punchline. And the middle was mush.   Rubbish.

So what do you do when that happens. Its all about Recovery…

Rant at yourself – maybe for 30 seconds, then get over it.

Think of Mancroft International’s business mantra

“I’ve never had a bad day in my life – only neutral days that I didn’t like.” Richard Jackson, or another great business thinker, William Shakespeare. “Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so”. Although I must add that Hamlet did have a few problems.

In my early days at Plymouth Theatre Royal I used to be invited to talk at TMA Marketing Conferences (1982 and 1983 I think) about my failures.  Well more particularly they loved having me on a panel next to one of those whizzy heads of marketing of the RSC who had invented a great hotel/theatre packages which was packing in  hundreds of tourists from across the world, and then get me to compare and contrast the challenges for normal mortals to make a new scheme work where collaborations between tourism partners was novel.  I think my salutary tales could sometimes spark more recognition than how the greats had done it.

So the first lesson from all this to realise is that I’m a good enough presenter to know when I’ve done a rubbish job…and that I need to get over it.   The second lesson was realizing that when I talked to a colleague at the event they had no idea I’d done a less than par presentation, because within my brain scrambled words were some ideas they found interesting.

And also I know that I have the tools to make it better.  The need to think for a moment with “The end in Mind” to quote the second mantra of Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.  What do I want my audience to remember.  Then go back to the beginning and think of what I want to get across in my 40 seconds, or 5 minute talk.  2 or 3 key points. Don’t tell them your life history or wave around the argos catalogue of things you could do for your audience. Think who the audience are and pick a very small menu of options.   Oh and then take a breathe before speaking, and take your time.

And then remember – we all have bad here days – but its all about Recovery.

Oh – and PS – a blog is such a good way to have that 30sec rant and turn it into useful stuff for others…did I say “buy the book” – Your Life in Theatre. I even forgot to plug the book despite a 7ft banner with the cover in front of me.