7 Face-saving Ideas During Presentations

Posted on 03 February 2011 by Cheryl Joy

A lot has been said about the professionalism and work ethics of the corporate world. For any aspirant, sitting in college, dreaming of a five figure salary and a big fifteenth floor  office- there is one image of a typical corporate life. Like it or not this picture invariably involves someone facing a few people in a conference room and making presentations. This is why making presentations and making them well becomes so very important not just in work life but right from college itself. It’s the one thing they teach you in biz school and while you’re there- you better learn it well!

1.Late for a presentation? Ouch!

The biggest most important thing while giving a presentation is being there! And more importantly being there on time. For all the skills and gloss that you might be able to sell to your audience, if you’re late, none of it will make much of a difference. So if you’re late during a presentation make sure you make a brilliant excuse once you’re there because being late you’re running a huge risk anyway!

2.Lost your data…a dog couldn’t have chewed it this time

Let’s face it, we can’t really use the ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse after the age of ten. I don’t even think it worked back then! So realizing that your data is missing is close to suicide especially, when you have a few beady eyes looking right through you, ready to dissect every word you speak. What does one do in such a scenario? – talk about everything. More often than not a person who speaks confidently is judged as someone who knows a lot so use it to your advantage and talk like you’ve never talked before! It might just work!

3.Got the stage fright!

A big problem that a lot of people- students and even professionals face is -stage fright. Everything could seem to be perfectly in place till that spotlight falls on you and all eyes are on you. The solution for this is far from difficult. Try imagining all those in front of you in a funny setting (here may I add “I leave the ‘imagining’ to your creativity”) and things won’t seem as bad. Just a small suggestion though- try not getting too carried away!

4.Too many questions!

A typical situation- you’ve prepared a brilliant presentation and you know your stuff. Come the day and you’re presenting it with confidence and clarity. The world seems perfect till that guy in the first row asks you that question. And then some more. Feel like your perfect picture is coming crashing down? Fear not because there is a solution. While the ideal situation would be to answer all those questions with the confidence of a salesman, this is not always the case. So the escape is the magical line- I’m running short on time! In order to make sure you don’t seem too rude, drop in the additional line of ‘ you can mail the questions to me and I’ll revert’. I don’t really think anyone actually gets down to answering them but then you come out of a sticky situation looking prepared and polite!

5.Hey that’s my topic!

The worst thing that can happen is to find yourself presenting on a topic that has already been done. You’re already bogged down on whether yours is going to be better than your counterparts’ presentation and all hell breaks loose. The solution for this can be to start by being a little selfish and not scream your idea from the rooftops. But if you have been smart enough to do that- fear not, there is a way out. Presentations can be a boring thing to sit through. Something to make your presentation popular and different is to make it funny. This does not mean take away from the main topic at hand, but do it with a humorous twist. It’s always a hit with the audience.

6.Ahem…Don’t know much?

It’s the day of the presentation and you just realize that you actually don’t know much about what you plan to say. It’s a genuine mistake- happens to the best of them. But the smart thing is to get out of it without coming out looking like a novice. The best thing to do in such a situation, is to throw everything out to the group for discussion. There is a double whammy you hope to achieve here- assuming the audience is of an average intelligence level they will automatically start a constructive discussion. And secondly you get brownie points for interaction. Now that’s called being smart!

7.Got a strict boss/ professor?

While fun and games and jokes can make you an instant hit with your audiences, the same cannot be said about some Professors and old school bosses. So the worst situation could be you imagining yourself to be a hit with the masses but then that glance to the boss’ face and he looks far from pleased. Oops! Time for damage control. Nothing to worry, it’s far from ruined. The best thing to do in this situation is to quote a definition or better still throw some statistics! Trust me, they all love numbers!

So while these aren’t the ideal way to make ‘Class A’ corporate presentations, I  hope you never have to use them in real life. But if by some chance you do, chill, relax and watch the magic!

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