2 Presentations…

Sometimes as part of my job I have to give presentations to customers, partners, or suppliers. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly wonderful at this, but it makes for a nice change to the job and can be quite a challenge. Anyway, I was asked if I wouldn’t mind giving a bit of a talk at a forum we were taking part in on Saturday 23rd June. Might be 20 minutes at most. Shouldn’t be too difficult I figured – a short 15 minute chat round a table was how I’d originally envisaged the whole thing. It wasn’t until the day before that I was casually asked if maybe I could have some slides to go along with this little chat. It’s at this point that I began to have a bit of panic set in. Slide presentations I normally like to prepare myself and have time to figure what I want to say on each slide. Clearly I had no time for this, so had to download a slideshow someone else had prepared and cut out bits I really didn’t want to talk about. With this done by the end of the day I was feeling a bit better about the event and decided to go out for some drinks… and crawled back to my apartment in the small hours of Saturday morning.

The forum event is being held in Macau. This is the third weekend in a row I’m heading out to Macau, and the novelty has definitely now worn off! Unfortunately my hangover had certainly not worn off by this time. I only arrived with about 20 minutes to go as all the ferries to Macau seemed to be booked up which wasn’t ideal. Upon arriving at the venue I’m led into the room that this round table discussion is going to take place in, only to discover that there seems to be a stage at one end with a speakers podium, and a table marked out with 5 name cards. Unfortunately, my name is one of them. The only thought in my head at this stage is ‘oh my god’.

It seems as though I’m first up after lunch about to give an unprepared presentation. Excellent! Fortunately, there seems to be only about 20 people in the audience of which I think only 3 or 4 are actually paying attention to me. I’m convinced one guy is definitely sleeping. I’m also not convinced that what part of the audience is listening to me is actually able to understand what I’m saying. So with all this I’m already struggling to keep my mind on the presentation and not totally freeze on the stage when there starts being flash photography of the event. Having missed the morning session I didn’t realise that the audience were allowed/encouraged to take photos of the presenters as they went along. Also, one of the organisers (I think) is very enthusiastic with his camera prowling along the front and taking loads of pictures. I can only guess that I looked like the proverbial rabbit caught in the car headlights. No idea how long my presentation lasted, but I fairly rattled through it and suspect I managed 10 minutes. I got the expected polite applause when I finished though. Not my finest 10 minutes it’s fair to say, and definitely not doing a presentation when hungover again. Worse luck, I had to sit through the next 3 presentations that were all in Cantonese. Mr Sleepy in the audience didn’t seem to wake up for those either, so I felt slightly better at that.

Despite my less than stellar performance in Macau I was lined up to do another presentation on Friday 29th June. This time though I had the presentation supplied, and plenty of time to go over it and prepare what to say on each slide. Expected to last 40 minutes. Similar kind of et up again, with a podium on the stage and being mic’d up, this time to an audience of about 120. Being prepared for this sort of thing makes a huge difference. I was first up again but this time I was ready for the photographs and got through pretty much unscathed. No sleepers this time as far as I could tell which helped. Again, all other presentations in Cantonese – I’m just wondering how many people understand me. Some people must have done as they said they stayed to the end to specifically see me run through a very dodgy video demonstration. They must have been disappointed when that got cancelled… I was not, I didn’t really understand what was going on in the video.

Lessons learnt: Don’t try and wing a presentation on a hangover, it’s never going to work. Do try and prepare for the presentation as much as possible. Don’t do presentations if at all possible!

Got roped in for another one next Friday (13th – haha!) July. At DisneyWorld. 50 minutes, god help me.

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2 Responses to “2 Presentations…”

  1. johniebg Says:

    Lets hope they don’t give you a costume to do the presentation in Disney World …. 🙂

  2. Stu Says:

    I’d go for a Goofy one anyway, just for a laugh!!

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