A website visitor commented, “I find it a challenge to face the public if given an emergency task to address or chair a programme. I do panic and worry. How does one combat this?”
Last minute presentations are common
It’s not unusual to be asked to chair a meeting or even present on a moment’s notice. Maybe someone gets sick or there’s an emergency situation that needs to be addressed immediately. How do you handle it?
First of all, in this situation, the audience usually understands that you didn’t have time to prepare. Don’t apologize too much, just explain the situation and they will understand and be fairly forgiving. Usually. It depends on the audience, of course.
Most people find it a challenge to present with no preparation time, so you’re not alone.
Have a structure and fill it in as you go
Why don’t you write up some notes from your past experiences of what worked and what didn’t? And out of that, create a global outline that could work in multiple situations. For example,
- Introduce yourself
- State the purpose of the meeting
- Introduce others as appropriate
- State a general structure for the meeting
- Start with 3 main points that you’ll cover
- Unpack those points
- Conclude & summarize
Then, when you have to address a group, you can quickly list 3 main points as soon as you know you have to present/preside — or even as people are coming into the room.
The rest is pretty much automatic. Make sense?
Have you been in a situation where you had to present on a moment’s notice? How did it go? What tips do you have to make the presentation a success? And to keep yourself calm?