When a speaker cancels at the last minute

Presentation Skills – what would you do? 

I used to always joke that I hoped a speaker cancels at the last minute so I can jump up and say ‘I’m ready, pick me’ but when it happens Oh My Goodness. On Monday night about an hour before our big launch one of the 6 speakers  decides after 2 months of preparation and marketing that she just can’t make it. We promised 6 speakers so at the last minute I had to step up. This was not any presentation though this was a PechaKucha presentation that sometimes takes weeks to prepare as it has to have stunning  visuals and be perfectly timed and rehearsed. I had an hour, not to mention I was also running the event. So be careful what you wish for. Lucky for me the heavens shone down on me and I didn’t have time to stress, I just had to get it prepared and presented. I chose one of my favourite speaking topics “The Power of Story” so it was easy to display my passion about the topic. I will embed the presentation when I get the video back.

How to prepare for an Impromptu Presentation

Can you really prepare for an impromptu presentation?
Yes you can

1. Don’t panic. If you panic and get stressed about your presentation, you will not be able to prepare and organise your thoughts.

2. Confidence is key. The more you speak in front of an audience, the more comfortable and confident you will be if you are approached to speak without notice.

3. Use a structure. Once you know and are comfortable with a structure you can use that structure at a moments notice.

4. You are always ready. Have a few of your slide presentations on a memory stick or in a drop box so you can access them anywhere at any time.

5. If you have to start from scratch (Like I did last week) Speak around one central idea that you are really comfortable speaking about and sequence it so it is engaging and informative.

So next time someone asks ‘can anyone here stand in for the speaker?’ your answer will be ‘Yes of course’

Paula Smith (Speaker CSP. CEP, Author, Master Trainer, Business Consultant) is an expert in Presentation Intelligence (TM) and has been helping experts, entrepreneurs and organisations to grow their business and their brands for the past 30 years



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