May 062011

I have always been a confident when it comes to presenting, be it a deck I prepared myself or someone else’s. It will not surprise you that around 95% of all presentations I do are based on PowerPoint slides with a projector along with a whiteboard. If on the odd occasion no projector is available (can happen at customer sites) then there is nearly always a whiteboard to illustrate the points you want to portray. Even if that is not available then you can always huddle round a screen.

So how did I get caught out?

Not planning for every possibility when it comes to the customers circumstances.

I checked prier to the meeting I had the following:

  • Knowledge of the subject
  • Fully charged laptop – VGA & DVI cables
  • Slide deck on USB and on laptop
  • Whiteboard Pens

This usually is enough for me to give a good presentation. Unfortunately the leading technical manager who was heading the customer project was completely blind!!!

Giving a presentation without the usual visual aids was difficult even when you know your subject inside out but to not have prepared for it was even worse. Explaining a new technology to someone with only words is not as simple as it sounds when there are many aspects to the technology and its very easy to stray and forget where/what you really want to portray.

I now ensure that I have with me not only a printed version of my slide deck for me to refer to but also bulleted headings and key terms I want to get across. This allows me to keep a the presentation flow going and allows me to get back on track if I stray or get asked impromptu questions.

Its going to be pretty rare that I come across this situation unexpectedly again but I now better prepare myself for these types of situations.

As for how it went……. I managed to blag it and it went down well but someone less confident or less knowledgeable on their subject may struggle in this type situation so be warned – BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING!!.

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