As a conference speaker and team development facilitator, often you are faced with the unexpected. One of the key things as a speaker is not to be phased-out by what happens, however to use it to your advantage and keep your audience engaged.
This is a short story of what happened to me last week, when speaking at a conference. Names have been changed for anonymity.
The Story Of Ifan Odd Job & His 8ft Ladder
So I’m a quarter of the way through engaging the audience with my conference presentation, at a hotel in deepest, Wales, when out of the corner of my eye, I spot Ifan “Odd Job” appear. Affectionately named by his hotel colleagues to reflect what the 65 year old did around the hotel. “Can I help you Ifan?”, I ask. “Sorry to bother, but when I put the big presentation screen up, I left my ladder behind it and need it for an urgent job.” “No problem Ifan.” I reply.
Ifan disappears behind the screen, the audience and I can only see his feet below the screen, shuffling to and fro and the top of the 8ft ladder, swaying, cobra-like above the screen. After 5 minutes of wrestling with the beast, during which time the audience and I are smiling and some chuckling, Ifan appears, big grin on his face, the ladder towering above him. He’s like a man who has just tamed a wild animal.
As Ifan exits stage right, ladder swaying precariously, I turn to the audience and announce, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Ifan Odd Job and his 8ft ladder. Ifan will be appearing on this Saturday’s Britain’s Got Talent, juggling 3 sheep from the top of his ladder and will be rehearsing on the hotel lawn right after the conference for those who may be interested in watching.”
Cue conference audience crying in fits of laughter.
Well, who wants to go to a boring conference!!
So, if you are ever called upon to speak at a conference, be prepared for the unexpected.
Yours behaviourally, Nick