"What to Say When You're Dying On the Platform! and ... the Equipment Malfunctions!
By Lilly Walters
"...and my next slide is .... uh ... maybe it's not .... um ... Charlie, wanna check the eletricity on this thing?"
Sound familar? Once you stop to think about it, there are a TON of rotten things that can go wrong when a presenter is set in front of any group! But as we get more and more into our high tech assistants, when it all blows, it blows big time! Now we can really get stuck up there. What do you do and say when the electricity goes out? The overhead projector blows?
In the book by Lilly Walters, "What to Say When You're Dyin' On the Platform!" (McGraw Hill, March), over 100 problems like these are solved. Witty one-liners and ideas add to the insights supplied from over 100 professional trainers, speakers and entertainers. For instance, what do you do and say when ...
THE OVERHEAD OR SLIDE PROJECTOR ACTS UP
Overhead slides are the easiest of the professional visual-aid options to use. Everybody uses them! But it's hard to stand out and be unusual if you use "plain old overheads." On the other hand, they are quick and inexpensive. Almost everyone has a copy machine, and that's all it takes to make an overhead slide. Next to a flipchart, they are the easiest to prepare. They give you greater control than 35mm slides, because you can easily decide not to show "the next few" if you get rushed for time, and no one but you knows the difference. Anything that can be photocopied can be turned into a colorful transparency. I have heard many people say that a color overhead provides greater retention than a clear overhead.
The drawbacks to overhead slides are that they can easily be dropped and get out of order. Also, if your presentation does not allow for keeping them in a set order, it will be awkward shuffling through them.
To Prevent It from Happening
What to Do
The audience members should never know there is a "problem." If you cannot seek help without them knowing what is going on, then act as if using your overhead was a teeny, tiny portion of your presentation, really of very little significance-regardless of how desperately important the slides really are to your presentation. Then you must just carry on.
Do not explain what each slide looked like. Do not say, "Well, if you could have seen the next slide it would have looked like." Just give the presentation without making reference to the slides. "Talk" the message that is on the slides-don't refer to the slides if they are not there.
What to Say
Above adapted from "What to Say When You're Dyin' On the Platform!" by (McGraw Hill) - A major choice of the Executive Program Book Club
Contact Lilly Walters
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Best-Selling Books by Dottie and Lilly Walters on professional public speaking