If your life and work involve making presentations, sooner or later something unexpected will threaten your credibility as a speaker.
How you rescue yourself will be remembered as much as your remarks. You can be even more powerful and memorable because of the circumstances, or you can seem weak and unprepared, even if the disruption is no fault of your own.
If you haven’t even considered what might happen if technology or your memory fails on stage, you should. Without a backup plan, your presentation is a disaster waiting to happen.
Consider the much-discussed stage walk-off by “Transformers” director Michael Bay when his teleprompter failed. You can see what happened in this video:
Bay, known for his action films with massive explosions, himself imploded when he left Joe Stinziano, Samsung’s executive vice president, alone on stage. Samsung had selected Bay to promote its new curved televisions at the event, but Bay turned and strode off stage muttering “I’m sorry.”
He later apologized on his own blog and said he guessed live shows weren’t his thing.
Imagine how successfully he could have handled it had he managed to familiarize himself or even memorized answers to a couple of questions and extemporized.