October 7, 2010

Just when you think you're prepared...



It's been a long time since I had an outright disaster during a presentation. In fact, I don't think I've ever had one, unless I've completely blocked it out.

More frequently, I'm chastising myself for minor mixups and negligence, "Why did you forget this?" "Where did you put that?"

Yesterday was no different. I gave an hour-long workshop on effective PowerPoint for the Nonprofit Support Center here in Santa Barbara, a workshop that's technically still in development as it was only my second time presenting it. The content is there, and I like how it's coming along so far.

But these tiny details that no one but me would notice or care about keep slipping by.

I meant to bring my Flip video camera or camcorder to record myself. Forgot the video camera. I keep trying to remember to bring a camera, even to get some still shots. Forgot the camera. The biggest annoyance of all: Forgot my introduction.

I have recently developed an introduction that is way better than the boring bio that is usually read by the person introducing me. It's funny, it's silly, it's totally me... and I have misplaced it or forgotten to bring it with me three times in the last six months.

I have a large file box filled with all my supplies. My remote, my giant pen for the mailing list, my noisemakers, my handouts, my timer, my bags of hard candy... EVERYTHING is in that file box. Except, somehow, this introduction that I usually e-mail ahead to my introducer, who tends to misplace it as well. But this time I hadn't even e-mailed it, so my organizer just had the bio from the website registration page.

When my PowerPoint looked like hell on the organization's projector, I whipped out my own and had it looking great in a couple of minutes (after all, I can't very well give a presentation on effective PowerPoint with a crappy looking slide show). But the introduction? Nowhere to be found.

Why does this chap my hide so much?

Because it's the beginning of the presentation, and I want everything to be perfect. Sure, I understand that there's no such thing as perfect. I say it all the time on this blog. But that doesn't stop me from trying!

I hate the idea of boring the audience with yet another boring bio, formatted boringly with boring information about me they don't care about.

So today, I am going to do two things. I'm going to print out yet another copy of my introduction and place it in my file box. I'm also going to paste it into Google Docs and Google Notebook so I can always access it, no matter where I am (already done!).

It took me six months to figure this out, but I'm finally going to do what I have to do to be organized.

Do you have a minor annoyance that keeps popping up in your presentations? What are you going to do about it?

4 comments. Please add yours! :

Greg Friese said...

Minor annoyance for me is chairs placed to close to the projector in the center aisle so it is difficult to move around the projector to walk down the center aisle.

I need to start moving these chairs before participants arrive.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

It's always something, isn't it?

Tony Cavell said...

I just recently started following your blog, which I am enjoying. Thank you.
Agreeing with the "boring bio" peeve, I've occasionally taken the following steps, when it was particularly important to me, as when the crowd doesn't already know me pretty well.
I create a 2-4 slide presentation of my Intro to be projected (to assist) the person making the introduction. Knowing most people's tendency to "follow the slides", it helps them follow that instead of skipping through written material helter-skelter.

JAC

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Tony, I can see that working especially well with a humorous intro. With a typical boring bio, it might just reinforce the audience's dread of the boring slideshow to come!

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