Listening to the persuasive presentations podcasts reminded me of a presentation I gave a few years ago.

I was consulting to the CFO and VP of planning at a global company, and the team was kicking off a high visibility / high cost / high risk project.

I was prepared, but didn't know the room until we got there: it was a tight fit around a table with a small screen and whiteboard. After intros and a brief, tense discussion about how tough the situation was, I stood up to give the presentation.

My feet got tangled in a bunch of wires, and I went to the floor, along with my laptop and the projector! After a moment of stunned silence, everyone had a good laugh and the tension broke. (They must have thought I was an idiot!)

The projector was irreparable. Fortunately, I had rehearsed and gave the presentation on the white board instead of in powerpoint.

The project was a success, they netted millions of dollars, but I still remember most that moment on the floor.


WillDuke's picture
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So John, is this a technique you're recommending for success?

When tense, try destroying all of the equipment and dive to the floor. The ensuing hilarity will release tension and get people on your side.

I like the story because it showcases your ability to literally get back up, dust yourself off, and deliver your presentation. The story shows how much of the props we don't really need. You were prepared; you knew your material. You delivered on a whiteboard. Most importantly they had a successful project. Somehow all of that gone done without PowerPoint.