Imagine you’re working with a brand new client. This is someone who you were introduced to by a trusted friend, and you want to do excellent work.

You’re co-hosting a virtual presentation for this individual. If it goes well, this could be a mutually beneficial long-term relationship. You practice, rehearse, and prepare all your slides, videos, audio and polls.

You prepare for the worst. You have a contingency contingency plan in case something goes wrong.

15 minutes into the presentation… it happens.

The ONE problem you’ve never experienced and couldn’t have planned for.

You can’t do anything and you’re held hostage by the technology.

Can you imagine that?

I’m Ready

I don’t need to imagine this. It happened to me last Friday.

I’m working with my new client, Gene. He’s a successful individual, a retired naval officer who’s commanded two navy ships. This is a high stakes presentation for him that can open many new doors.

We talked for two weeks, practiced, rehearsed, did dry runs, and anticipated every possible problem.

On the day of the event, I’m prepared with my technology. I’m ready!

But then, 15 minutes into the presentation, my computer system locks up.

Held Hostage By Technology

I can’t do anything — not even turn off my computer. I’ve never experienced this before. Maybe all those fears about AI are true — it’s taking over!!

I can hear everyone on the other end, but my side is frozen.

I try everything I can think of.


After 4 minutes, I have no other choice — I go with the nuclear option; I take the one action you’re not supposed to with a computer system. I reach down, grab the plug and and pull it out of the wall socket.

I’m mad as hell and thinking multiple thoughts:

“How did this happen? I prepared for everything! This is a brand new client! How could this happen to me? This is a disaster!

But then something interesting happens. My training kicks in.

Years ago, I discovered that when you’re under duress, you fall back on your training.

I had practiced and rehearsed over and over. I also have seven years of virtual hosting experience.

All of my experience and training kicks in. I know when I restart my computer, the worst thing I can do is immediately get back on the call.

I have to first reset all of the presentation materials. Prepare the:

  • Videos
  • Slides
  • Polls
  • Chat box questions

Only then do I re-enter the call. I hope Gene has been able to effectively keep the presentation going while I’ve been offline.

Sure enough, when I log back in, he has smoothly handled the situation. HIS training had kicked in. He can handle a crisis, which this is not — it’s an annoyance.

We’re able to smoothly ease me into the presentation.

The rest of it goes fairly smoothly with only a couple of minor glitches.

Why We Get Paid

I was still mad when the presentation ended. I kept it all inside, didn’t show it on screen, but I was angry at the situation.

But then I got on a quick debrief call with Gene. His first words were, “Wow, that was rough. Michael, you handled yourself so professionally. I want to work with you again.”

My first thought, “What? That wasn’t professional to me.”

Gene’s supportive words reminded that as speakers, trainers, leaders, or sales professionals we’re not paid because of what we do when the event is going perfectly, when all is well.

We’re paid to handle the challenges and the problems in a calm and professional manner.

This is why preparation is critical. Practice, drill, rehearse. Make adjustments. Repeat.

You can’t practice for every possible challenge. An experience occurred to me which never happened before, but I was able to lean on my training, determine the best possible action in the moment, and move forward.

Challenges are inevitable. Sometimes you’ll encounter one you’ve never seen. The way you handle it is how you’ll be evaluated.

This is why practice and rehearsal is critical. Prepare until your material is second nature. This enables you to keep your emotions in check when the problem occurs.

It also enables you to shine and create a positive experience in the middle of mayhem.

Mayhem to Mastery – How To Benefit From Unexpected Setbacks ultima modifica: 2024-03-25T13:53:30-04:00 da Michael Davis