Recover from Public Speaking Disasters | TJ Walker | Skillshare

Recover from Public Speaking Disasters

TJ Walker, Public Speaking and Media Training Expert

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12 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

      1:39
    • 2. Control Your Emotion

      5:00
    • 3. Understand That You Will Forget

      4:26
    • 4. Have a Cheat Sheet

      1:21
    • 5. Recover from PowerPoint Malfunctions

      5:26
    • 6. Use the Disasters to Your Advantage

      3:35
    • 7. Be Heard even with Audio Problems

      1:49
    • 8. Actually Know Your Speech

      2:26
    • 9. Make Your 1st Video Rehearsal

      2:01
    • 10. Keep Going with Your 2nd Video Rehearsal

      3:44
    • 11. Course Conclusion

      1:54
    • 12. Give and Get Feedback

      1:18

About This Class

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Imagine that you can speak with confidence and authority, no matter what disasters might be happening as you speak. Wouldn't it be nice to know that if you forget what to say or if a slide doesn't

work properly, you can still speak in a confident and relaxed manner, and your audience will never know there was a problem?

In this course, you will learn the following:

  • Recover if you forget what to say
  • Project calm on the outside even if you are panicking on the inside
  • What not to say when mistakes or disasters occur
  • Avoid the most common mistakes that derail speakers

This course is delivered primarily through spoken lecture. Because the skill you are learning is speaking related, it only makes sense that you learn through speaking.

The skill you will learn in this class is not primarily theoretical or academic. It is a skill that requires physical habits. That is why you will be asked to take part in numerous exercises where you record yourself speaking on video, and then watching yourself. Learning presentation skills is like learning how to ride a bicycle. You simply have to do it numerous times and work past the wobbling and falling off parts until you get it right.

How long this course takes, is up to you. The longest part of the course involves you speaking on video, critiquing yourself, and doing it over until you like it. But if you get to the point where you love how you look and sound when you present, it will be well worth the time spent. And having this skill will save you time for all future presentations in your life.

You can begin improving your presentation skills right now. You may have an opportunity to speak out as soon as tomorrow, so why waste another day worried that your presentation skills are not up to high standards.

Transcripts

1. Course Introduction: It's a fact of life. Screw ups happen. Blunders happen. If you given are speeches. At some point, you're gonna have a disaster either. A technical disaster power point doesn't work. You mess up the slides. A memory problem. Everybody has problems from time to time. When they're giving a speech, I want to teach you various techniques to minimize the problems so that people can still focus on your message. You what a great presentation, this waas so that ideally, they don't even remember the problems. Two big, big, big concepts on a stress in this course, and we'll go into more detail on it. It's this. It's not the problems and the blunders that get most speakers in trouble. It's their own reactions to their blunders. That's the first big concept. The second big concept is the biggest blunder of all, as a speaker is boring your audience and not saying anything interesting and memorable and having them just tune out and check their email. That's the biggest blunder of all, but we're not gonna focus on that as much in this course. I want to talk about other specific axe technical problems, riches, memory problems, how to deal with that. But yeah. Also keep in mind focus on having a great, interesting, memorable speech and you avoid the number one problem ball. Just giving a lousy speech. Okay, let's hop right in to how to recover from blunders and mistakes and speeches. 2. Control Your Emotion: We gotta talk about your emotional state now. We're all human beings. Human beings are emotional, so when something bad happens, it's completely normal to react to. It is a human being now. It's not that I want to turn you into a robot, but when I have seen countless times is somebody's giving a presentation. Everything's going OK, but they stumble over a word and it's where they forget what they're gonna say, and it's or the slide isn't just right. It's their emotions. That stand out is more memorable than the mistake. You need your emotions to be focused on a positively on your message on your content, not horror. Oh God, I'm really screwing up. This is awful. That, unfortunately, is what happens to a lot of people is they make a mistake in there. They're rolling their eyes in, disgusts with themselves. They have contempt for that. I can't believe I messed that up. Now we all do that when making mistakes from. You should see me on the tennis court really doing it in a quite verbal way. But when you are speaking, you need to be kingly aware of what you're putting out there for people. That's interesting. And here's the thing. So many presentations, business presentations in particular, are sort of calm, straightforward fax information that when you do anything that shows a flash of emotion, it stands out from all the other stuff. It becomes instantly more interesting, more memorable. But unfortunately, that's not you. Putting emotion on the spotlight of the stuff you want. It's putting a spotlight on yourself. I can't believe I messed that offers. I bungled at our my God. I should prepare these slides better. That's not where you want to put the emotion. So what I'm asking you to do here is a little bit borrowing from poker of the poker face. Something bad happens, you stumble over. It worked as I did about 60 seconds ago. You don't react. You just keep going. You'd like Everything is fine, and that takes a little discipline. It takes a little practice, but it's not hard. It's not hard in the way of hitting a hole in one or ice skating, a perfect pirouette. Those things were hard. Those take years and years and years of practice, and even then, most of us can't do it all. I'm asking for is when there is a mess up. A screw up. Don't show the flash of emotion. I remember many years ago I was in Pennsylvania on a military base, training a bunch of executives, engineers. One of them was getting a power point presentation. Everything was going well. But then in one moment, his slideshow stuck. Now he knew his information. He was knowledgeable. He had prepared. He couldn't get it to advance. And then, in just a fit of fury, he slammed the laptop. Everybody laughed, and he went on to give a great presentation. Here's the problem. The most emotional moment in the entire presentation was that pushing that slamming that laptop down and that emotion wasn't planned. It wasn't a part of his message. I understand it was completely cumin, but that's the only thing people remembered after the presentation. Wow, Did you see Charlie hit that laptop? Oh, I could relate to that. That's happened to me. We're connecting at a human level, but we're not connecting people to the message to the content. So my advice is when things go wrong as they will, starting point is, don't register it on your face don't articulate it. Don't say I'm sorry, unless you really, really made some blunder. If you meant to say four billion and you said four trillion just actually, it's four billion. But don't put a spotlight with your emotion. Don't show your frustration with yourself when you're giving a presentation, you need to act at all times supremely confident in yourself in your message when you're presenting, even when things aren't going well, other life. Otherwise you run the risk of putting a spotlight on the blunders and not your message. 3. Understand That You Will Forget: we've all seen this. The speaker is presenting. Everything's going well and that concludes what's important here. Now, what's next is oh, crap. Got what I'm gonna say. We had no idea the speaker had for gotten because we're not sitting there with a speech for the outline. Look, it's human nature to forget, especially when you're feeling stress. And unless you give three speeches a day, you're going to feel some stress when you're standing up giving a presentation in front of people. So you have to assume your normal recall your memory isn't going to work as well. Here's the thing about audiences, though they don't have your full script in front of them. Typically, they typically don't have the whole outline, so they don't know if you forgot what to say unless you tell them. So. The mistake is not forgetting what to say. The mistake is telling people Don't tell people your blunders. Now I'm not advocating lying, but I certainly don't advocate airing your dirty laundry for everyone in the audience to see you don't have to, and that's what you're doing. If you tell the audience members that you forgot what you're going to say Now, for starters, this is one of the few problems in life that are solved just by doing nothing. If you forget where you're going next, just pause. Look down, make perhaps a step or two and look like you're reflecting on the brilliant comment you just said a moment ago. Everyone else needs to think about it if you don't look, Pan, if you don't know what am I gonna say? Enough If you're not looking scared, if you're not looking panicked, the audience won't know audiences like a breather Every now and then, they like toe reflect on what you just said. So if you finish something inwardly, you could be thinking Oh, no. Oh, no. What am I going to say next? I forgot you could be thinking that inwardly. But outwardly, if you're projecting calm, just taking a step too. Now what will know? Here's another way that you can protect yourself. Ask a question. You finished one point. You're trying to think. What's next, Jim? That makes sense so far. How does that happen in your own organization? Ask a question of the audience. So now that person's thing L he's called on me What am I gonna say? He's feeling all the pressure she's feeling. All the pressure heads were turning their. Meanwhile, that takes the pressure off of you to think about what you're going to say next. The next thing you have to remember is order is very important. Us as the speaker, and we may have written out a whole speech or an outline, but the audience doesn't know the order. And with many, many aspects of life on the information, you're conveying the order. Does it matter because they're listening toe one idea at a time, and if you switch one example in place from another and then you come back to that one, the audience isn't going to know, and it's not going to have an impact on the overall impression of the speech. The comprehension of or anything else so I need to do is to take a little pressure off yourself. Cut yourself some slack if you go out of order a little bit, but you look incredibly comfortable, relaxed. You're interesting and understandable throughout. Your audience will never know. So don't tell them. Don't tell them and there's nothing wrong with finishing a point inwardly forgetting where you're gonna go. And then just looking at someone like I just said something so brilliant. You need a moment to think about it. But the pressure on them to think and reflect, But don't show the world that you're panicked. Don't show them you feel stupid even though you might feel stupid. And don't tell them you forgot. It's nobody's business but yours. 4. Have a Cheat Sheet: this lecture is closely related to the previous lecture on What do you do if you forget? I want to give you something that will really help you out of these binds, and that is a cheat sheet. I never give a speech without having on one page. Typically 1/2 a page a note in big, bold letters that had my outline for the entire speech. That way I don't have to remember anything. I could just focus on one point at a time, glance down and his sheet without anyone noticing it, cause I'm not touching it. I'm not stopping to put on my glasses. I'm not saying Oh, I forgot what's next. It's just it's right there. Sheet of paper, large text, not necessarily even behind electorate. It could just be on a table next to the glass of water. Glance down, see my next point and go on. So, for example, this entire course here, my lecture notes, it's on a single sheet of paper, so I don't have to worry whether I forget or not. All I have to do is glance down, so use a cheat sheet. I want to give you a lot of tips on how to react and avoid disasters and how to recover from disasters. But the best way is to not make the disaster in the first place. A cheat sheet will really help. 5. Recover from PowerPoint Malfunctions: power point disasters. How many times have we seen that? It's hard for me to even imagine going to a conference and seeing a lot of speakers without at least a few people having power point disasters now that can include everything from bulbs burning out to the slides, not advancing to the screen, just going crazy. Two. Missing Slide Slide order There's all sorts of problems that can happen with Power Point. How do you recover from it? Here is my advice. If all of a sudden you, for example, double click and you fast forward, don't apologize. Oh my God, I'm an idiot. I've asked forward or two men here is out of order. Don't comment on your blunders, even in a non emotional way. Simply, if you see it's gone forward to hit reverse and go back, just pause. People will see it. They will notice it because you didn't react because you didn't make a mountain out of them all Hill. They will not remember your blunder again. It's not the blunders that get us in trouble. It's if we make it so big. That's what people remember. That's the problem. We make little mistakes here. and there. No one will notice most of the time, as long as you continue to provide good value and information. So, for example, in every one of my videos in this entire course, I've made some mistake, but I havent fixated on it. I haven't apologized for it unless to make a point. And that's why, overall, they still work. So please, please, please keep that in mind for the technical problems we've all seen Technical front. We've all had technical problems if we give power point often enough. Once I was giving on training to a whole bunch of executives going through my power point. It was probably 40 minutes in, and I looked up. The power was off inwardly, something Oh, my God, look like an idiot because they still had half of my presentation to go inwardly and picky . What's wrong? What's wrong is by computer broke into the screen bowl. But look out. I'm hitting at the laptop while asking questions of people having them focused on the audience. I realized my computer is dead and that it's because I forgot to plug it in. Uh, I could have said that I could It's oh my gosh, I'm so stupid. I forgot to plug it in, and the plug was not next to me. It was sort of in the middle of the room with an extension cord wrapping around the site. So what did I do? I continued to talk about the next point that related to the next slide. How did I do that? It didn't see the slide will again. I had notes that tell me what the slide was and what the concept was. I glanced at the note. I walked around the room, and since I normally walk around the room, there was no distraction. It was odd. It didn't seem weird. Then, at a particular point when I'm right next to the cord and I could see it's not plugged in, I threw a question to an individual in the front row on the other side of the room. And then I bent down and I plugged that that chord in so the computer could be powered up, continued the conversation again without commenting, turned it on, found the right page and went to the next one, and it simply wasn't memorable. Now, if you had asked people right after that, Did they notice anything? I'm sure some of them could have, but because I didn't go on and on, I didn't panic. I didn't say Oh, my gosh, When I gonna have any more power point, it simply wasn't memorable, and I was able to continue with the whole thing. Part of it is by being calm. Part of it is you've got to speak often enough to be able to talk to people and be thinking about what's the trouble shooting issue here. Oh, there's no power in the computer. And I see the court is out. I can put two and two together. There's no power than the battery drained, so that does take a little time reflecting on that. If the order is wrong in the power point, don't comment. Simply talk about the slide you have or try to quickly find the slide. Now, the ultimate way of recovering from bad power point slides that run amok or don't work or the projector breaks is you have to be prepared to give a power point presentation without any power point. So, for example, if your power point does that, it just powers off. Don't say, Oh my gosh, this is awful. It's the end of the world. I don't know what to do, instead glanced down at your notes and continue. Do that and you'll be in great shape. You'll communicate. Even though there are technical problems, you'll still be a great communicator. 6. Use the Disasters to Your Advantage: sometimes disasters happen when giving a presentation beyond your control and you can make the best of it. Use it to your advantage. For example, in my previous lecture, I talked about what to do when your power point goes on the fritz. Well, right towards the end of my lecture, my own power point. Well, it wasn't planned. Ladies and gentlemen, my own power point went on the fritz, and this is a video loop on a big street. It went blank is on error message. I get a step. Oh, my God, I'm screwing up. I'm doing what I tell you not to do. I could have hit, delete and done the whole thing over, But again, I went into this with the attitude of disasters happen. Don't apologize. Don't comment on some aspect of how you screwed. Make the best of it. Make the most of it. So I quickly incorporated what happened to my screen into my presentation, ideally in a seamless way that you thought it was even planned. Always be on the lookout for how a particular disaster can happen. And you can make the best about now. I'm not asking you to be stand up comedians. But we've all seen quick witted thinkers when there's a baby crying or a phone ringing when they're speaking and they have a quick come back and it gets a nice laugh, and it was quick and spontaneous. I'm not trying to teach you how to be humors, but how to make the most out of your presentation. So, for example, more than a decade ago I was giving a training Teoh a whole bunch of executives from major oil company how to give effective presentations. It was an all day long training, 9 to 5, and I told him very much of the beginning of the day, You're not gonna leave here until you can get to the point where you can give a power point presentation even if there's no power and you can't use the power point. If you got to go out in the parking lot and give that presentation, you're still going to be great. Well, lo and behold, a four o'clock that day, the power went out in all of New York City for about 24 hours. This was a huge, huge, well documented power outage. So what do we do. I quickly found a flashlight, got the six executives. We kind of grabbed onto each other's jacket. On the way out, we felt our way down the stairs. We walked out of the training studio on 40th Street, went across the street to Bryant Park. Very nice park. There was still plenty of daylight, and each person proceeded to give their Power Point presentation. In the middle of the park, we formed a little circle chairs. They did it without electricity and you know what? They all gave good presentations, and it really demonstrated the skill they had learned by the end of the day. So the final hour of the day, everyone gave great presentations, and they gave Power point presentations without power point. And you know what? Many of them remember that years later, they still comment. On that day, they really learned how to speak when the power went out. So if something bad happens, look for an opportunity to use that actually flesh out the message you're talking about now . It doesn't always fit, I understand. But something bad happens beyond your control. You could use it to your advantage, or it could be neutral. Don't let it bring you down 7. Be Heard even with Audio Problems: So what do you do if your microphone goes batter, the speakers go out and you're counting on that to be hurt. If you're speaking to 10,000 people, the event might have to be cancelled. But quite often you could be in room 200 people 100 75 and they have a microphone and you're behind electorate. And it is nice tohave it. It definitely helps. But then it just doesn't work. The speaker burns out. The microphone isn't working. What do you do? You can't let it ruin your presentation. You have everyone assembled there still focusing on you. They're still going to listen to you. Here's my recommendation. Number one kind of obvious. You're gonna have to project a little louder. Number two, You're going to have to move around the room because let's say it's 100 people in like a classroom setting. And there's 30 feet between the front row on the lectern where you were with the microphone . You need to come right up to the front row. If they're aisles, you need to be walking around because this way you'll be much closer. Your mouth and the sound it's making will be much closer to the ears of everyone in the audience. You're gonna have to project more. That's going to take more energy. It's going to dry out your throat. And that's why always you should have plenty of water if you're going to be speaking for more than five minutes, because you'll use a lot more water. If you are projecting to the room. So don't complain. There's no mike. There's no speaker. Don't complain about it. Simply make the best of the situation project with more energy. Walk closer to people and walk around and you can still present. 8. Actually Know Your Speech: the easiest way to recover from any disaster when giving a speech or a presentation is to be so comfortable with your content with how you're going to present that you can really be sort of, in the moment, an alert to problems, potential problems and has some mental space so that you can think about how to deal with problems. Now. The big difficulty for most people is when they're giving a speech there, actually stating it out loud. For the first time now, you may have written or rewritten the speech of the power 0.50 times. It may have gone through legal in your investment bank, and I are all these different people. But if you are literally speaking it out loud for the first time, then that's the first draft of your speech. So your brain is not processed. It's the difference between saying something brand new or reading a sheet of paper versus telling somebody how you met your spouse or what college you went. Those air easy things for people to talk about doesn't require full concentration because you've said it a 1,000,000 times now. I'm not suggesting you have to give your speech a 1,000,000 times the way you may have explained to people where you went to school or how you met your spouse. But I am suggesting that it shouldn't be the first time out of your mouth when you are in front of that audience. So the best way to protect yourself from disasters is to give yourself some mental space when you're giving presentations. The way to do that is to have a comfort level with the material in the speech because you have practiced on video, and that's what we're gonna talk about next. But there's really no substitution for that. It doesn't take that long, either. The technology is very simple. These days, any cell phone will do. But by practicing by knowing your stuff, half your mind could be thinking about these other issues and how to deal with it and how to avert a crisis. And how did not react to a crisis or a disaster so you can keep people's attention on your ideas and having them remember your ideas. So that's why if you really want to avoid disasters and recover from disasters, being so comfortable with your speech through practice is the ultimate in protection 9. Make Your 1st Video Rehearsal: now it's signed to rehearse. We can't plan for every single type of disaster you might face and giving a presentation. But you can certainly practice different situations, so you get more comfortable with it. So if, for example, you ever speak with Power Point, I want you to get a power point presentation. Ready? Now, I want you to get ready to give it. I want you to record yourself giving the presentation, and you can use simply a cellphone ideal. You have a colleague who could hold it. It could be a webcam, or you could just hold it yourself. I want you to give the power point presentation. And I'd like you to find a colleague to just turn off the projector at some point halfway, roughly halfway through your presentation. And I want that video camera on you to see your reaction. I want to see how quickly you can transition to just speaking from notes, as if you couldn't care less that the power point had disappeared. So I want to see how you react to that. If you're not using power point, I'd like you to have some other disruption plan. Ask a colleague to have their cell phone go off. Asked him to flip the lights on and off. I don't care what it is, but I want some distraction for you. I want a video camera on you giving your entire speech. And then I want you to watch the video and I want you to note what did you like? What did you not like? I especially want you to note. How did you handle the problem of when you're projector? Just went out without you knowing it or when that person's cell phone went off bothered you . I want you to really pay attention to if you said anything and your nonverbal communication to so do that right now. Practice your speech on video, have some planned disruption and then analyze it strengths and weaknesses. 10. Keep Going with Your 2nd Video Rehearsal: So how did you do? Let's look at that stack of things you liked about your last presentation on video. Let's look at the stuff you don't like. I want you to practice again. Ideally, have a colleague disrupt you. And if you have no colleague around, just put your own laptop down as if you were doing it yourself. But you wouldn't be doing that a real life. Obviously, I want you to practice the same thing again and see how you handle disruption because I'm guaranteeing you. You speak long enough. Often enough disaster are going to happen. You can't plan how to avoid every disaster, but you can plan how to react in a way that will still keep the spotlight, the focus on your messages and what you're there about and not your frustration with problems. I want you to practice again on video and watch it. By the way, this is the perfect opportunity to eliminate the biggest disaster of every speech, which I mentioned at the beginning of this whole course, which is the disaster of being boring, an unmemorable. Now, this isn't the primary focus of this course, but if in the process of watching the video of yourself giving this speech. You think? Well, I handled the crisis well. I handled the problem. The technical thing didn't bother me, but, well, boy, I sure am boring. I wouldn't want to listen to me. Guess what? That's Ah, huge, huge disaster. You need to prepare in advance to avoid that by making sure your ideas air actually interesting and memorable. So here's the real key to the video rehearsal. You've got to keep doing it until you like what you see. The test is not what I say. It's not about me giving you an A or a 10 or anything like that. It's not about you looking or sounding like Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton. It's about Can you look at a video of yourself when someone flash the lights off or a phone runoff or your power point went out? And can you be absolutely happy with how you looked, how you sounded, how you reacted, any noises that came out of your mouth or what you said, or apologies or any facial expressions body language that undercut your message? That's the ultimate test. So it may be that after one or two takes You like what you see. You're completely comfortable. You're confident, too relaxed. You're ready for anything. But it may be that you still don't like a lot. Here's the key. Keep practicing on video. Keep critiquing. Keep trying to do more of the stuff you like less of the stuff you don't like. Keep doing it until you were happy. You've seen a lot of bad speakers in your life. Let's be honest. You've also seen speakers who were okay. But when there was one little roadblock, one little disaster, they fell apart for the whole speech. I want you to have the absolute confidence that you're going to do fine no matter what, unless the entire ceiling caves in, You're gonna be absolutely fine in this presentation. So the key is keep practicing on video until you like what you see in your convinced you look your best, you sound your best. You're handling crises. Well, you're recovering from any disaster and you're doing what you set out to do, which is communicate. Your message is in an interesting and memorable way for your audience. 11. Course Conclusion: If you've come this far with me, you are ready to give a speech. And you're not gonna worry about a disaster, A blunder, because you're gonna know how to recover from that. How to react in a way that doesn't detract from the overall presentation. Mistakes happen. Mistakes happen to the best of us. Mistakes have happened to me during these lectures here, but they don't have to define you. They don't have to mar the overall performance. They don't have to detract from your central message. I think you have a much better sense now of exactly what to do when disasters happened. We don't know what disasters will happen or when, but we do know if you simply don't put a spotlight on the mistakes that you make. Where the blunders were the problems with the room, people won't remember that as much. Instead, they'll remember your message. So I hope you have a much better sense of how to be relaxed during a speech because you don't have to have everything go perfectly in order to still present. Well, if a blunder happens, if you forget what to say next, it's just not that big a deal. Because now you know how to trick your audience into thinking everything is going well. You're not gonna tell you forgot that you made a mistake or you're sorry about this or that or Oh, my gosh. The slides aren't working. All that is in the past, you've got great messages. You've gotten an excitement for sharing it with the audience, and nothing is going to get in the way of that. Besides, you practiced in advance on video. So you know how this is going to go. You know your content. And because of that, you are prepared for any speaking situation, any blunder, any disaster. So good luck with all of your future presentations. And you know what? If you don't have good luck, you'll be ready anyway. 12. Give and Get Feedback: If you really want a master, the skills were talking about today. If you truly want to be a world class communicator, then you're gonna have to get feedback. Ask your friends, family members, colleagues, other executives to rate how you're doing with every aspect of your presentation. I'm a big believer in this, and I don't just talk about it. I practice it, too, so I want your feedback. So what I would ask is, now that we're almost done with his course, take just a moment and go to the feedback portion of this course and write a review. No, I certainly hope you give me a five star review, but I want you to be honest, tell me what was valuable in this course and write it out and tell me where it can improve . Now I think I'm good. But one of the reasons I think I'm good is that I've always listened throughout my career to people who didn't like something about how I communicated, and I listened to it, and I tried to make adjustments to improve it. Tiny little improvements every time I speak. So I'm asking as a favor to me and for future students, so we can continue to make this course get better and better. Take just a moment to write a review in the official feedback section of this course.