I have been presenting information to teachers on topics such as Accommodations and Modifications, Behavior, Inclusion, Classroom Management, and Cognitive Biases related to Special Education for a couple of years now. I have been confident, prepared, and the presentations have gone well. Recently, I gave a presentation on Cognitive Bias to a group of local business people.
In all of my presentations I use Google Slides. I like using Google because as long as I have access to the Internet I have access to my presentations. I was presenting to this group of business people in a location I hadn't presented before so I called ahead to make sure I would be able to access Google and have somewhere to project the presentation. I was told that all was good. I practiced, made notes, and even printed out the slides on a handout, just in case. The day of the presentation I arrived 40 minutes early to get everything set up. The first person I asked about presenting was pretty helpful but we couldn't quite get things running. So she directed me to someone else. She gave me a bit of different advice, but it seemed like it would work so we tried that. One of the business people arrived and said she knew exactly what to do to connect my system with theirs. The meeting began and I was still not connected. We had downloaded apps, updated software on their system, changed networks several times, and still it was not working. Not to worry though as I had printed those handouts just in case the technology didn't cooperate.
Suddenly, the moderater of the meeting called my name and told me to introduce myself. I said I could just wait until my presentation but she wanted me to introduce myself anyway right then. I stood up and started rambling about how I knew the moderater, why I was speaking that day, and then remembered I was just supposed to be saying who I was and the name of my business. So I attempted to do that and got the name of my business wrong! My business name is Shelley Kenow IEP Consultant....my name and what I do, how could I screw that up? I said the name of my business was IEP Solutions. I don't even know where that came from. I sat down, embarrassed and waited for my time to speak. Tried to calm myself from my introduction blunder and ran through my slides again.
Just as the moderater said it was time for me to speak, my tablet with my slides quit working. I hadn't practiced without the slides. Even though they were printed out, it threw me off my game. I started off okay, joking that I'd prepared this amazing slide show but that was the last good thing to happen. I was supposed to present for 20 minutes but I am not sure I even spoke for 10 minutes. I felt very discombobulated in my thoughts, jumping from slide to slide and then back again, and when I finished the room was silent! No one had a question or a comment...probably because they were trying to figure out what had just happened.
The take away for me from this day was that no matter how prepared I am, things can still go wrong. I am grateful for the opportunity and actually, I am grateful that I didn't feel as successful as I normally do. It is a good reminder that I am not in control, mistakes and bad days happen, and it is best to accept that, learn from it, and move on. At least from the picture, it looks like everyone was listening :D