Two distinctly different events this week have me considering the importance of poise over panic when presenting.
On Tuesday, I had the amazing opportunity to watch the SpaceX rocket lift off from Kennedy Space Center. The pleasure of watching the rocket soar and the boosters return to land was amplified knowing that Elon Musk believes that we need more fun in life. To emphasize this, Musk chose to use a red Tesla sports car as his payload, with an empty astronaut suit in the driver's seat and a sign that read "Don't Panic."
Then last night I watched the Olympic Biathlon competition, in which athletes have to cross-country ski, then shoot a rifle while their hearts are beating at approximately 190 beats per minute! Winners are adept at calming themselves enough to hit the targets with amazing precision.
Presenters need this poise when things go wrong - which they inevitably do. Technology failure? Yup, I've had it. Stranger walking on stage mid-speech? Yup, been there. Fire? Yup, had that, too. In every case I managed to avoid panic because I knew I had two solutions.
1. I am comfortable telling my participants to turn and talk with their colleagues or to take a ten minute break. This allows me to handle the problem without the anxiety of having everyone watching and waiting.
2. I always have predetermined material or activities I can cut if I am running short on time. This pro-active step provides me with a sense of patience, so that I am not rushing to try to solve a problem (and potentially making it worse.)
Do you have tips for staying poised instead of becoming panicked? If so, please share so that we can all learn from each other.
For additional tips, check out my book "Caffeinated Learning: How to Design and Conduct Rich, Robust Professional Training."
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
var switchTo5x=true; >