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Public Speaking Course: 

Improvise Your Flipchart

At a speaking engagement recently,  I  broke my own rule from my public speaking course. I did not follow a preplanned checklist like I should have, Oops!

It was two minutes until my presentation was going to start and I realized that I had no flipchart in my room. I nearly flipped out because I had no flipchart.

Uh oh!. I had to really think fast. I was not using an overhead projector during my presentation, so I could not simply write on a blank transparency. Now with one and 1/2 minutes left . . . . I thought, "Never let 'em see you sweat." So, I went into the hall way to sweat instead.

I saw a flipchart in an empty room awaiting the next speaker and quickly took a piece of the flipchart paper and went back into my room to get ready.

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

It was time to incorporate some fun so I asked for three volunteers to BE my flipchart. I also requested that one volunteer needed to have 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 the person's back with the black shirt.

We had so much fun! The three audience members 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 making sure I had a 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, adversity 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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