I was recently invited to speak at a Cranfield University BGP open day. The BGP, or Business Growth Programme as it’s known, is designed specifically for the development of owner managers and their businesses.
I was invited to give a presentation based on my own experience of participating on the BGP programme back in February 2007. I was more than happy to accept the invitation. My experience of BGP was rewarding, challenging and still helps me to this day. My BGP was a journey of massive benefit to both me and my business.
Anyway, early doors on the day I made my way to campus with my laptop and ppt presentation ready and waiting, it having been carefully crafted in the days leading up. I was so confident that I nonchalantly threw the presentation on to a stick and popped it in to my pocket safe in the knowledge that all I had to do was plug and, well, present!
There were 3 perfectly crafted pin-sharp-Cranfield-University-type presentations before mine. I sat listening, trying to remain reasonably calm, palms only very slightly damp, not quite visibly trembling… Time came for my presentation. In with the stick. Double click the file… and…
…no content in the presentation. Nothing. Nada. What the hell was I going to do? There was absolutely no time to cause a fuss. I had to man up or bolt!
What followed was a royal test of decisive action under extreme pressure that I shan’t forget in a hurry. I decided to speak ‘off the cuff’. Do or die. And guess what?
Unbelievably, they thought it was great! Result.
I learnt four very cool and unforgettable things:
1. Never be so cocky as to assume technology will work.
2. Powerpoint is not the be all and end all.
3. Always expect the unexpected.
4. Audiences prefer engaging and honest stories.
Even more staggering I have even been invited back for more of the same in June. And if that wasn’t confidence boosting enough the day after I received a note from the programmes senior Director, it simply read: “That was a great solo yesterday – funny, affecting and from the heart. Thank you very much indeed.”