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Public Speaking Course: 

Improvise Your Flipchart

At one of my presentations I completely broke my own rules from my public speaking course. I did not follow my preplanned checklist, Oops!

It was two minutes until the beginning of my speech and I realized that I had no
flipchart in the room. Uh oh!. Better think fast. I was not using an overhead projector
for that presentation either, so I could not simply write on a blank transparency. Now with one
and 1/2 minutes left . . . . I thought to myself, "Never let 'em see you sweat."
So, I went into the hall way to sweat instead.

I saw a flipchart in use by the Air Force folks who were in the next
room. I "borrowed" one piece of flipchart paper and went back into my
room (in truth, I never returned it).

Now there was one minute left. I put the paper on the floor still not having any idea
what I was going to do with it. So I got on the stage and began the program. 30
minutes in it was the moment of truth. Luckily I had another marker in my prop
box. Ok so far. I had masking tape too. . . . but the way the room was
set there was no place to put the piece of paper that would allow both
sides of the room to see it.

I guess it was time to incorporate some fun into the situation. I asked for three volunteers from the audience to BE my flipchart. I qualified the request to include one person with a
black shirt (incase the marker leaked through the paper). This got a
good laugh. I had the person with the black shirt turn their back to
the audience. The other two helpers held the flipchart paper against
black shirt's back.

We had a ton of fun! The three volunteers were laughing. The audience was
laughing. Ad-libs were flying. The black shirt person was getting tickled with the point of the marker. And I still got the point across that I had planned all along. Now everyone was involved and participating and having fun. I kept my cool and used what I teach in my public speaking course to still make an impact.

OK, I'll admit I messed up by not checking for the flipchart before
speaking. However, if you are willing and able to stay flexible in the
face of the inevitable challenges you will face as a fun public
speaker, a sticky situation can turn positive very quickly. Making lemonade out
of lemons is part of using what you learned in your public speaking course.

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