My worst fears came true when I recently spoke at an Organizational Design event and due to technical difficulties was not able to use my carefully designed slides to accompany me. I would have to wing it for the one hour discussion.
When faced with having to quickly adjust my Design Thinking presentation I was left wondering...Had I prepared enough? What if I forget major parts of my talk? Am I credible enough to speak on this topic alone? What if I'm not engaging enough to keep their attention?
Three Things I learned from Presenting without my prepared Slides
1) The story you paint matters more than the slides
While I didn’t feel as prepared as I would have liked to, I knew the stories attached to the Design Thinking examples that I wanted to talk about. Since I couldn’t rely on my slides to help paint the picture, I had to do so myself…with with my words. This is not a new concept, but I’ve never been in a situation where I couldn’t use my slides so it stretched my imagination to look for ways to show and tell using only words.
2) When your faced with the unexpected stay humble
I didn’t have data and graphs to help show all the ways in which I used Design Thinking at my organization. My presentation was meant to show successes, but in talking through my examples I saw where my implementation could have been improved. In some instances, we could have spent more time building trust prior to attempting to roll out Design Thinking, had we done so we would have been more successful.
3) Flip the script from presentation to discussion
Once I started talking and the audience started to participate the presentation was no longer about my work, but about how everyone in the room approached Organizational Design. The session became more of a round table discussion and allowed for real learning. I learned so much from others who had both successful and not so successful implementations.
The presentation went by much faster than I thought it would and I didn't even get to everything, but that didn't matter. Together we created a learning experience that was more impactful then any slides I could have come up with.