Once upon a time, I was scheduled to teach a mid-week seminar, a two day class that I had done a number of times before. As always, it was out of town with easy flight connections, familiar hotels and classroom space. As always, the trusty fulfillment team had shipped the materials and provided me with tracking numbers. The shipping company was one of the biggest.
Delivery was scheduled for early morning, in plenty of time for the after lunch start.
I arranged the classroom, had everything set up and tested and only needed the workbooks and materials and I could spend the rest of the morning on other work and catch up on e-mail and phone calls.
The package delivery was late, unusual for this town and this company. As it got later, a tracing phone call revealed the incredible. The box I needed was on the truck that was under a tree that had fallen on it during an overnight storm. The company had immediately gotten manpower on getting the packages off of the truck, but everything was delayed. Best estimates indicated a 4 PM delivery.
As can be imagined, a number of things had to be changed, rearranged and quickly written. The whiteboard became more important, and I was able to get a flip chart to outline the start of the course.
The seminar started on time, introductions were made and I made a short reference to the coming delivery of materials. Then we dived in to the seminar.
As a presenter, you should expect the unexpected and be prepared to go in a direction different the one planned. Microphone batteries can die, clickers cannot interface, your classroom may be next to a high school band tryout.
Flexibility and a sense of humor will go a long way to rescuing a challenging situation. Be ready to step down from technology and go to old standbys.
Your talent, humor, flexibility will go a long way to not only saving a challenging situation but create a great session for your participants.