Whether you are new to speaking or have been speaking for some time, you will realize that we all have occasional presentation blunders and we need to know how to rebound, refocus and re-energize after an unexpected presentation disaster.  

“Disaster” may sound a little overly dramatic word to use when it comes to presentations, however if you’ve ever had a presentation that didn’t go as planned, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.  

As a heart centered speaker, we take our calling very seriously and tend to be perfectionists who are committed to delivering our best for our audience – every single time. Doing less than this just isn’t acceptable.

The reality is however that sometimes things aren’t going to go the way we planned, even though we had the best intentions and undertook all the necessary preparations.  

Sometimes, you have no control over a situation.  Sometimes, it’s the audience and their current circumstances.  

For example, one of my clients got booked for a presentation but the organizer didn’t tell her that everyone had just been laid off before her inspirational talk! Ugh! No matter how much she wanted her presentation to be great, it just wasn’t going to happen.  There was no way that she was going to inspire that particular group of people after being laid off!

Another example was when I was booked for a 2 hour presentation and last minute it was cut down to 45 minutes because of the organizer’s poor time management skills. The last minute change was totally unexpected. I had to try and alter my PowerPoint slides in a moment’s notice. I tried to rebound the best I could however I just wasn’t my 100% best.  

Here’s another situation that is out of your control but can impact on you.

You’re told there are going to be 200+ conference attendees that will be in the audience to hear you speak.  You are shocked and dismayed to find that event host didn’t market the event effectively and there are only 10 people in the audience.  There are 190 unfilled seats and 10 filled. Not a ton of fun and yes, I have seen this happen! 

Let’s talk about when you’re just not your best and it had nothing to do with external circumstances. 

If like me, delivering less than your best just isn’t good enough then this article is perfect for you.  

I can spend hours beating myself up with the “should”, “could have” and “why didn’t I” instead of just accepting the circumstances, learning from the experiences and moving on.  

I have learned to use tools that help me rebound, refocus and re-energize after these types of speaking situations.  

Here  are some things that help me get it together quickly after a disappointing presentation so I can bring my ‘A game’ the next time:

1.  Prayer – If this is something you do, then do it.  

For me, I ask to see the good in the presentation situation. To have the emotional pain, self-judgement and self-criticism that I am experiencing removed as quickly and easily as possible.  AND IT WORKS!  

I always find that I rebound, refocus and re-energize much quicker when I spend a few minutes on prayer.  Whether you believe in God, Spirit, Angels, the Universe and so on doesn’t matter here.  What does matter is that you have to ask for help because prayer doesn’t work unless you take the initiative to do it.

God, Spirit, Angels and the Universe can’t intervene on your behalf without you asking first so make sure you ask. 

2.  Call a Positive and Supportive Friend

There is nothing like a good friend to listen and lift you back up.  Just avoid the ones who immediately say “You should…”  as you’re most likely beating yourself up already so you don’t need someone who will make you feel worse.  

Remember, it is perfectly okay to ask for support and guidance.  You don’t need to handle this on your own. Ask for help. Sometimes just talking with another will help you feel better and discover #3.  

3. Finding the Good in the Situation

Instead of focusing on the negative, ask yourself uplifting questions like these:

 “What went well?”
 “What did I learn that will help me be better next time?”

And my favorite duo: “What was effective” and “What was ineffective?” This one eliminates the good or bad and the judgement. It always leads you to find the positive and discover what you need to change next time. 

4.  Determine an action to take if you receive feedback that other’s also felt your presentation wasn’t effective.

This rarely happens, however you do need to take a positive approach to keep your reputation untarnished as a speaker.

To smooth things over go the extra mile to make it right. Apologize for the challenges that occurred and take responsibility.  You might consider sending gift (i.e. a downloadable training program) to the event host and/or the attendees.

The extra action step will always make you feel better and leave everyone feeling good!

5 – Might sound a little crazy.  But it works! – Use a “Spoonk Mat”.  

I first learnt about Spoonk Mats from FoodBabe.com.  I am so happy I purchased one because the minute I rest my head, neck and shoulders on it, I immediately feel relaxed.  

The Spoonk mat isn’t for everyone; however it certainly helps me, especially when I have had a long day or a challenging presentation. Spoonk mats even ended up on the O List in the January 2013 edition of Oprah Magazine. 

So now, if any of the above presentation disasters happen you have 5 amazing steps to try out.  

You too can easily get it together after a presentation blunder and quickly learn how to rebound, refocus and re-energize. The bottom line is, none of us are perfect. We make mistakes, we screw up and these are wonderful opportunities for growth.

Remember, we are often perfectly imperfect.  Do your best each moment and learn your lesson when it doesn’t go the way you planned.  Apply the steps above that work the best for you!

To keep you moving in the right direction so you know how to handle external presentation roadblocks, check out my companion article titled ‘Presentation Challenges: How to Respond to Unexpected and Difficult Situations’ here.

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