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Public Speaking Course: 

Improvise Your Flipchart

At a public speaking presentation I did recently,  I  broke my own rule taught in my public speaking course. I did not follow a preplanned checklist for my program like I teach in my public speaking course, Oops!

I only had two minutes left until my I had to start my presentation and I realized that  there was no flipchart in my room. I nearly flipped out over having no flipchart.

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

I saw a flipchart in an empty room awaiting the next speaker and "borrowed" a piece of the flipchart paper and went back into my room to get ready for my presentation.

Now I was down to one minute left. I put the paper on the floor still not knowing what I was going to do with it. So I got on the stage and began the program. Thirty minutes into my presentation was the moment of truth. Thank goodness I had another marker in my prop box. I also had masking tape too. . . . but I had no place to put the piece of paper that would allow both sides of the room to see it.

It was time to think on my feet, so I asked for three volunteers to BE my flipchart. I also requested that one volunteer needed to have 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 the person's back with the black shirt.

We all had an absolute blast! The three audience members 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 everyone was involved and participating 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 screwed up by not checking to make sure I had a 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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