THIRD PUNCH: Questions
Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Computer, gets more than 1,500 requests a year to speak. When he accepts, he often uses half his time to take audience questions. And you don't have to be Dell to borrow his technique. There's a reason why you're up on the dais at that industry conference. Just make sure to anticipate possible questions ahead of time, so your answers will be informative. And always repeat the question to make sure you've understood it, and so the audience can hear it, too.
DISASTER ONE: You mess up
Kilcullen left an employee pep rally with his wireless mike still on. A quick thinking co-worker caught him just before he reached the bathroom. Instead of getting upset, he returned to his employees and joked about the incident. Don't try to cover up a gaffe. Making light of the situation takes the news value out of your mistake, and then lets the audience concentrate on the real reason you're there.
DISASTER TWO: Technical failure
When his microphone went dead during a speech in Little Rock, President Bill Clinton joked with the crowd, "So what? I didn't want to give a speech today anyway." He then signed autographs for the crowd. The audience doesn't know there's a disaster until you tell them there is. Your job is to contain the disaster and keep the presentation rolling by any means necessary.