Do not let people with other things on their mind mess up your presentation! If you are in your presentation room early and have real reasons for doing what you are doing, you will have the best luck at commanding your stage.

I was the opening speaker at an event recently and was in the room way early to set up and test everything. It was my job to kick off the event and WOW the crowd in my half day presentation.

Thirty minutes before start time one of the harried meeting organizers wanted to change my entire setup around to accommodate the introducer. I was gracious and polite, but I was not about to ruin my opening to accommodate the introducer. So here’s what I did:

=> I politely explained my reasoning to the organizer. I told her that what she had in mind was going to totally blow the beginning of my talk and make us all look like fools as the introducer brought me on stage. . . .Why would we look like fools? Because at the peak of the intro, we would have had to move tables around, reboot a computer and switch clip on microphones. . . . This is no way for a professional to come on stage to WOW a crowd.

=> I suggested alternative ways to accommodate the very brief needs of the introducer.

=> I did all of the above in a firm, but polite fashion so I did not appear arrogant or unreasonable.

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