How to prevent disasters from ruining your presentation

By Tatyana Mishchenko

On Tuesday, 7th of November, the Zuriberg Toastmasters Club had another hilarious, dynamic and exciting night!

An experienced Toastmaster of our club, Kyle Bullus, gave a workshop with the title: “Mastering Disastering”. We learned and exchanged ideas about how to stay cool when props, visual aids and technical devices fail us at the most important moments during presentation, in front of an audience – and how to prevent such disasters from happening in the first place.

Many members contributed personal accounts about what went wrong during important presentations. Margherita shared a story about her important final exam, when teaching in front of students and an examination committee, it almost turned into a potential disaster. The computer couldn’t be connected to the beamer even though she had brought several possible cables. She was brave, didn’t panic and was able to conduct her whole presentation without any technical support. She successfully passed the exam!

Another example came from Sergey who had prepared a presentation on stock markets. He realized minutes before his speech in front of a 30-people audience that neither a projector nor a flip-chart would be provided. Demonstrating composure and knowledge, he decided to hold the presentation in any case, using just his hands as visual aids. Thanks to what he had learned at Toastmasters, he mastered the situation.

We all learned two most important keys for success in managing disasters during a presentation: to prepare for and to minimize risks as much as possible.  Should something still occur, despite all preparations, don’t panic, but try to address your audience audaciously and you will manage to survive. The best place to practice this type of survival strategy is at Toastmasters!

After the workshop, Michelle – one of our long-standing members – delivered a speech from an Advanced Speech Manual with the title “Honesty Journal”. Michelle explained to us why it is important to stay honest – and why we often fail to do so with ourselves and with others.

And the evening concluded with another speech from the Competent Communication Manual: Mark talked about his experience with 10 days solo hiking around the Mont Blanc. He shared his fascination of the Alpine nature and described his challenges and difficulties in crossing mountains.

We are looking forward to more exciting evenings and fascinating speeches in our club!

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