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Improvise Your Flipchart

At my last presentation I completely broke my own rules I teach in my public speaking course. I did not follow a preplanned checklist like I should have, Oops!

It was two minutes until start time and I realized there was no
flipchart in the room. I nearly flipped over not having a flipchart.

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

I saw a flipchart in use by the Air Force folks who were in the next
room. I "borrowed" one piece of flipchart paper and went back into my room (in truth, I never returned it).

Now one minute left. I put the paper on the floor still not knowing
what I would do with it. So I hit the stage and began the program. 30 minutes in it was the moment of truth. Luckily I had another marker in my prop box. Ok so far. I had masking tape too. . . . but the way the room was set there was no place to put the piece of paper that would allow both sides of the room to see it.

I guess it was time to have some fun. I asked for three volunteers to BE my flipchart. I qualified the request to include one person with 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 blackshirt's back.

We had so much fun! The three volunteers 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 all these folks were involved 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 checking for the 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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