Professional presenters know the show must always go on – no matter what happens

Michael Bay exit stage right at CES 2014 photo:APBy now, many London Calling readers will have seen the video of Transformers Director Michael Bay fluff his lines on stage at CES in Las Vegas and literally “exit stage right”.

In his own words …

“Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES – I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar. I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down – then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing.”

You can see the painful 1 minute video below.

Those reading this post that present for a living will know that from time to time, things go wrong on stage. Projectors and microphones fail, and sometimes even crazier things happen.

One of my most memorable moments was at the Dialog conference in Sweden in 2012, I actually fell off the stage while presenting, and mid-sentence recovered, jumped back on stage and kept going.

Below is how Dell’s Global Social Media Director, Richard Margetic saw the incident unfold.

Having presented at hundreds of conferences since 1999, I have had my fair share of technical problems. My greatest fail to date was actually 10 years ago while presenting a keynote address at the Rotary District 9750 Conference in Sydney.

Andrew Grill presenting at the 2004 Rotary District Conference in Sydney

I was the first speaker on after lunch, so in the break, set up my laptop on stage, ready to present slides following a 3 minute introductory video.

What I had not realised was that in the break, my laptop had put itself to sleep [presenter rule 7 is ALWAYS turn off sleep mode on your PC when plugged in before a presentation].

As the 3 minute video was coming to an end, I walked on stage and looked across at my laptop screen. It was blank. The kind of blank look on the 250 people in the auditorium at the Sydney Convention centre were giving me when nothing appeared on the screen after the video.

So instead of walking off in a huff, what I did was signal to the AV guys we had a problem, and I then invited the audience to get up and stretch for a few minutes, and talk to their neighbours while I rebooted the laptop.

Thankfully the AV guys put on some music as well.

Once I had rebooted the laptop (and that was the longest 3 minutes of my life with 250 people and my now wife looking on anxiously), I calmly started my presentation titled “Bridging The Rotary Membership Generation Gap”.

The comments after my presentation were very generous, acknowledging that I handled the technical issue well, and the content of the presentation and my passion for the subject made them forget about it anyway.

What I was calmly thinking during the 3 minutes while the PC rebooted was that there was nothing I or the audience could do but wait, and that once I got going again, they would enjoy the content.

The lesson here for professional and aspiring presenters – the more you present, the more likelihood that things will go wrong.

If you are prepared for most scenarios, and are passionate about your subject then you can get through just about anything that happens – even falling off the stage!

Have a look at some of my previous presentations on my presentations page.

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Based in London, Andrew is an internationally renowned thought leader in the field of social business and social media networks. Andrew is a Global Partner with IBM, with a focus on Social Business.

  • http://twitter.com/marketingblogs/status/420704589755609088/ @marketingblogs

    Professional presenters know the show must always go on – no matter what happens http://t.co/TGe0qPLL2P

  • Ramin Mobasseri

    Man, this is painful. Using a teleprompter is never my favorite,I’d rather tell stories, much easier and in my view much more engaging. Live Demo’s are also one of the most dangerous ones. I presented (or attempted) to demo socially enabled Intranet in Vegas and put it this way, I never liked or used VPN ever again, but the screenshots came to rescue :-)

  • http://twitter.com/TopRamins/status/420709904026832897/ @TopRamins

    RT @AndrewGrill: The story about Michael Bay at #ces2014 made many presenters recall their own presentation fails & how they recovered http…

  • http://londoncalling.co/ Andrew Grill

    Don’t make me recall the countless times that live tech demos have failed on me! I have become an expert at sock puppets and hand waving for just such occasions.

    Developers never seem to have to go through this pain….

  • http://twitter.com/iSocial_Fanz/status/420711355008950272/ @iSocial_Fanz

    YES”Professional presenters know show must always go on no matter what – London Calling social business: http://t.co/4aBEMazfxp @AndrewGrill

  • http://twitter.com/pmobiweb/status/420723928823115776/ @pmobiweb

    London Calling: Professional presenters know the show must always go on – no matter what happens: By now, many… http://t.co/z8KZ18mSvl

  • http://twitter.com/peoplefw/status/420729925524406274/ @peoplefw

    RT @AndrewGrill: The story about Michael Bay at #ces2014 made many presenters recall their own presentation fails & how they recovered http…

  • http://twitter.com/SocialInLondon/status/420730221008932864/ @SocialInLondon

    Professional presenters know the show must always go on – no matter what happens: By now, many London Calling … http://t.co/MB6m86Pzuo

  • http://twitter.com/Social_Ben/status/421023959384330240/ @Social_Ben

    Professional presenters know the show must always go on – no matter what happens http://t.co/qKTJVg2fZ1 via @andrewgrill

  • http://twitter.com/RLavigne42/status/421043693408497664/ @RLavigne42

    RT @AndrewGrill: The story about Michael Bay at #ces2014 made many presenters recall their own presentation fails & how they recovered http…

  • http://twitter.com/ScottWNesbitt/status/421050082603978753/ @ScottWNesbitt

    RT @AndrewGrill: The story about Michael Bay at #ces2014 made many presenters recall their own presentation fails & how they recovered http…

  • http://twitter.com/LisaEarleMcLeod/status/425557205853552640/ @LisaEarleMcLeod

    @AndrewGrill – how to handle it when you fall off the stage. http://t.co/nY1Mh9zAFq

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewGrill/status/503136534799712256/ @AndrewGrill

    Well @BringDialog I am hoping I don’t fall off the stage at #DK14 like I did at #DK12! See http://t.co/77Dpe7rKjz

  • http://twitter.com/BringDialog/status/503136754850082816/ @BringDialog

    RT @AndrewGrill: Well @BringDialog I am hoping I don’t fall off the stage at #DK14 like I did at #DK12! See http://t.co/77Dpe7rKjz

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