Worst public speaking moments
Admittedly, it can be a terrifying experience to get up in front of a group of people you don't know and keep them interested. In a recent running diary, I told the story of a presentation that went epically bad and one that went a lot better. Then I got to wondering what others have gone through, so I posted a question over on LinkedIn Answers:
What was your worst public speaking moment and what did you learn from it?
I got some great answers the first is on not getting rattled:
"In a public presentation as I was presenting a controversial proposal, a Board member jumped up visibly VERY angry, grabbed his wife by her elbow and almost drug her out. I knew I was to be fired and I have no idea what I said the remainder of the presentation. It could not have too off topic, because I kept my job. The Board member was upset because his wife had whispered she thought she had left the stove turned on."I like this one because my wife is from this area of the country and this sort of thing actually happens:
"Allow adequate travel time: My directions to reach a small community group in Louisiana: From Alexandria, go south on Hwy 1 for 30 miles to the flashing yellow light, turn left, when road ends in a "T" turn left, first building on the left. So, I allowed 1 hour. As soon as I turned left off of the highway, I entered swamp. Over 1 hour later from that spot, after literally stopping for 10 minutes while a 8' alligator crawled off the road, I came to the ONLY building since I left the highway - it was surrounded by dug-out canoes and had no electricity for my audiovisuals. But the "worst moment" passed, they had passed the time talking and were surprised I had found the place. It was one of the friendliest and most receptive audiences I've ever had."Be prepared:
"I think that having to talk to empty slides on the screen tops the list here. The images for my talk have not come up on the screen as I have saved the wrong version of the talk and ended up with 2 blank slides. Now I always double check my versions that I upload at conferences and other meetings."A physical mishap:
"As I slid the chair back, the carpet began to bunch-up and the chair flipped backward WITH ME IN IT!And finally, watch out for that sneaky desktop image:
The chair rolled over very slowly, in fact my co-presenter said it was like watching a scene from the Matrix it was so slow. The audience gasped as I hit the floor. 40 years of martial arts training resulted in a reflexive back roll and I landed on my feet in a fighting stance (trust me, looks worse when you do). By now the audience was in a full fledged belly laugh, as was my co-presenter and our entire support team. "
"I was in the audience for training from a network hardware vendor. The vendor turned on his laptop, plugged in and started organizing his notes next to his laptop. As the machine booted, the background of his desktop flashed on the projector: A shot of a fully naked female engaged in what gave a new meaning to 'oral presentation.'
Half the crowd gasped. Half laughed. And one female said, 'OH MY GOD!' By the time the presenter figured out there was a problem, the background had changed to his company's logo. After several minutes of discomfort, the presenter finally asked, 'What just happened.' Our Director of Training (who was female), said to him, 'We'd best talk in the hallway.' She returned, the speaker did not. And I never did get training on that company's equipment."
Labels: General stuff