What can go wrong last minute on stage when communicating our message and what can be done to avoid this?
The big day has arrived! We are going to present to our audience our professional project or present our teachers the final result of our academic efforts!
- The Power Point we were planning to show does not open;
- We forget everything we had to say;
- Lose track;
- The sound has noise;
- The voice fails;
We naturally let the nerves take over.
Do we feel so nervous that we consider ourselves uncapable of entering the stage or room even after all preparation? Even if frightening, these incidents can really happen to anyone in situations of pressure!
However, even though we can feel absolutely uncomfortable and nervous, we cannot allow our anxiety to ruin all the effort and preparation for the big moment. We should remember that these situations are NORMAL.
We cannot absolutely avoid that these situations happen, however there are certain recommendations that, if we can follow them, we will be able to handle the situation better. Not all our tricks can be applied to every circumstance, as they always depend:
- On the type of the event itself;
- Of your accessibilities;
- Of its context;
However, small solutions and details, will often be enough to resolve problems that may surge during that moment.
We all know the importance of our theoretical and practical preparation for:
- Public speaking in a professional environment;
- Public speech for the academic community;
- Or even the presentation of a project or idea in an informal environment;
This means, by knowing well what we are going to do or say, by itself, allows us to be confident. This will be positive in stressful situations. The knowledge, in tune with proper planning, allows us to have a certain confidence that will help us to deal with unpredictable situations.
The dominance over the topic, as well as the know how of the public speaking technique, will provide us confidence to be successful with our presentation, even if some unpredictable situations may arise. It allows us to maintain ourselves calm, gives us notion of the reality, come back to a relaxed breathing and hold a firm tone of voice.
- Powerpoint failure;
- jammed computer;
- memory lapse;
- lose the thinking line;
First of all, we need to remember that we should always verify, beforehand, if everything is set for us to start our presentation, as this confirmation will allow us to win extra time to correct potential errors that we may detect.
If we do it last minute, or just during the presentation, we will be more nervous in case something is not working, and we will need, under pressure and in front of an audience, to solve it. We should then check different points:
- If we have presentation support, we should verify if the presentation is working correctly on different devices.
- If our presentation is done in another computer, we should guarantee that the files will be compatible and that they will open in both computers.
- If we have a MacBook and we prepare our presentation for that device, we should remember o test our presentation on Windows, as we may not be able to connect our computer with the projector.
- If possible, we should access the room or stage a few minutes before the big moment and test if the connection is working correctly.
- If a connection to the internet is needed, we should verify if that connection is working properly.
- If we need to use external sound to reproduce audio, we should guarantee there is no noise to the sound.
Another common last minute incident that can occur is to suddenly forget all we had planned to say. While much preparation can be involved for the moment on stage, and the whole structure is there, lapses can happen.
A good option is to have a tablet with the main points in which we want. to focus, in case that, if we forget the basic, we will at least have that support.
A tablet allows to create notes and do a scroll, in case there is a long speech involved. And through practice, we will be able to use this important tool in a discrete way. We should take in consideration the battery of the device instead of pieces of paper.
While pieces of paper may be an alternative, we have to remember that they are not so viable as digital supports. These devices are more automatic, more intuitive, and above all, they allow us to have our hands more free and do not require us to be constantly changing the page. This sobriety that digital allows us, will allow us to transmit a clearer image, and that the existence of that support becomes less noticeable.
To support us in those moments, we can opt to have with us a digital support or in paper that allows us to follow some topics and not lose the train of thought. Or to facilitate, through key words, to go back to the point where we were at before.
It is important to highlight that, in many cases, the use of this support is not possible.
In this situation, the best alternative will be to stop for a few seconds to breathe and restart right after we remember the main points. Of course that is an undesirable option, and as such, media training and public speaking training allows us to feel more secure and control any unpredictable situations on stage. These services train us, give us applicable and practical knowledge, and also they offer more possibility to our minds not going blank for any moment of our public speech.
One very common incident, and that is absolutely connected to situations of public presentations, is the anxiety. These situations cannot be absolutely avoided, however we do have the chance to learn how to control and dominate them in different contexts, and thus not letting ourselves be affected by external situations and even less by limitations of our mind.
Above all, we should be mentally conscious that we:
- Have the POWER;
- Have the KNOWLEDGE;
- Have the TRAINING;
Absolute capability of entering on stage and be successful from the beginning till the end. Believing we are capable is a great step to shine on stage, and we should express it not only with verbal confidence, but also with body language that expresses what we are saying, control it is extremely important, as she has the power to denounce us clearly, and by controlling body language, it can help us to hide the stress that we may eventually have.