Closing keynoter Jess Pettitt, CSP with Karen

When you organize or speak at events, glitches will happen. Our Glitch 1.0 blog talks about A/V challenges/solutions during the all-day Cavett Institute that I chaired at our recent National Speakers Association Influence ’18 Convention. Our Glitch 2.0 blog discusses room arrangement issues/solutions.

Glitch #3: Sudden Agenda Shift

We are about to finish our all-day program. As I start introducing our closing keynoter, I see my wing-person, Lorri Allen; and the incoming Academy Dean, Ed Gerety, doing sideway jumping jacks in the back of the room. They are shaking their heads left-to-right and mouthing the words, “NO”!

A quick glance around the convention ballroom nets my answer – our speaker is not in the room.

Can this happen to you at one of your board retreats, company meetings, or executive training sessions? YES. Your agenda shifts suddenly due to a key speaker becoming ill, or there’s been some type of miscommunication, or (inexplicably) you have a “no show” on your hands.

Solutions for Glitch #3 – Speaker Goes MIA

At our event our closing keynoter had warned me earlier in the day that she was having stomach issues. Because she is a consummate professional, I knew she was totally reliable. But life happens… when she was MIA I knew exactly where she was. In the middle of my introduction about her, having seen the signals from my crew, I paused and said, “Let’s change it up. Before I bring Jess to the stage let’s stand up and take a stretch.”

We did a much-needed physical activity and then I saw our pale closing keynoter enter the room. I introduced her, she did her presentation, and she rocked. Thank you Jess Pettitt @jesspettitt.

  • Have a back-up plan. Ask yourself – who can fill in if you have an agenda change? Know this in advance, just like a Broadway show will have an understudy for their actors.
  • Fill in with a group activity as we did at this conference.

Glitches happen. From A/V challenges, to room arrangement design, to people problems – be prepared.

© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, Albert Einstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.

Read more at www.SpeakForYourself.com/blog.

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