W is for… Wing it

This is the bit that really gets the adrenaline flowing. When you have to think on your feet and wing-it in the face of adversity.

You can plan all you want and dry-run all you want. When push comes to shove and you have to stand up in front of your boss, or the customer, or the board and demo, or explain, or show something; be it the fruits of your team’s labour, your product or your project’s finances, all eyes will be on you or your nominated demo-monkey as you peddle your wares to the assembled throng. Presenting can be a terrifying time for the best of people but with practice, it can be mastered.

However it’s when it all goes wrong and believe us, with technical solutions, it will, that’s when you will properly earn your stripes as a manager. Now, it may or may not be you that’s presenting, but your reputation and that of your team will likely be affected by the outcome of the presentation/demo. So you’d better be ready to jump in and save the day at zero notice.

The key is preparation, think it through. Like in sports, run the play in your head, think of what could happen, assume it does happen, what would you do? What else could happen, what would you do then?

It may mean you need a backup presentation to run if the demo fails, or another demo, or a back story. Have your presentation on a CD or pen-drive in case your laptop packs in. Maybe you take an extra projector of your own, or make sure you have a flip-chart available in the event of a bulb failure. Or even something as simple as having your own whiteboard pens in your bag. Think it through.

When you have to jump in and rescue the event, you’ll be glad you did.

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