One of the things that separates driving enthusiasts from daily commuters is that enthusiasts know how to take a corner. While most drivers ride the brakes or coast through the entire curve, a skilled driver is on the gas just after hitting the apex. A similar thing can be said about skilled public speakers.
Despite our best intentions, our presentations and classes are never linear. We all face bends in the road in the form of unexpected questions from the audience, technical difficulties, or even plain and simple mistakes. The key to smoothly reaching the finish line is to power through the curves just like the pro drivers do.
If you don’t know the answer to someone’s question, quickly admit it, promise you’ll get the answer for them, and make a note to ensure you do so. If you know the answer but it takes too long to explain, don’t let it derail your presentation—offer to go into the details after you’ve made your point (or after the presentation).
If your PowerPoint goes down, don’t let it put the brakes on your presentation—remember, your handout is good enough to sustain your momentum.
Lastly, keep in mind that if you make a minor mistake or forget to mention something, your audience probably won’t even realize it. Press forward and address the issue at a more convenient time if need be. After all, you are the only one who has envisioned your presentation from beginning to end—how can the audience miss something if they never knew it should have been there in the first place?
It’s impossible to perfectly execute a presentation or class as if it were a Sunday drive down Interstate 15. Your presentations and the audiences that attend them are dynamic. Curves in the road are inevitable. Success is all about how you handle them.