McBride for Business Blog

Observations of Business Disruptions: Bad Things Happen to Good People – 3 Stories From the Trenches

November 4, 2016 // R. Shawn McBride // No Comments »

I’ve been active on the speaking circuit for some time ( With speaking comes mishaps. You need to be able to roll with the punches. Obviously, your first line of defense is to avoid a problem before it becomes a problem, to work through issues, and to minimize disruptions; make sure you have the correct PowerPoint slides, check your technology connections, make sure everything’s right. However, sometimes, despite all of these things, things do go wrong.

Let’s look at a few mistakes I’ve seen in my speaking career and how I dealt with them.

A little too much help.  One time, I went to do a presentation and I found out that the conference had reorganized my slides and put them in a different order. They had eliminated some of my slides, thinking that they were duplicates or excess. They were actually carefully planned for timing and for other reasons to repeat sometimes. And sometimes I would have blank slides that I planned to hold the attention of the audience with a dramatic effect during the speech. However, the conference thought they were being helpful and deleted some of the excess slides.  I had to improvise on spot and work with the slides in the wrong order – good thing I knew my content!

Technology Failure.  At a different conference, I had a PowerPoint that stopped working during the middle of the presentation. I had to be prepared and roll with the presentation, despite the fact that I didn’t have the PowerPoint to support or prompt my speech. At yet another conference, I found out they didn’t have the correct connector to connect my laptop to their presentation hardware. As with constantly changing technology, the connector on my brand-new laptop did not match the connector they had for their older technology. We eventually had to transfer my files to an older laptop that I borrowed for the presentation.

Don’t forget that appointment!  One time I had a calendar pop up during my presentation. I had minimized my browser and put up PowerPoint slides. I was working through the PowerPoint slides when my appointments came up on my calendar for a call which I was not a party to. However, it caused the presentation to be minimized and the calendar came up on the screen for everyone to see. That’s one of those things where I wish I had known that it would do that before I had started presenting because I didn’t realize that my Google calendar would override my PowerPoint presentation.

These are just some of the things I’ve seen. I know all of us in business have disruptions. We have unexpected things, and we need to plan. Speaking is no different, but speaking requires a lot of preparation and rolling on your feet because you don’t have much flexibility to react when you’re in the front of the room.

What disruptions have you had? What plans have you put in place? How have you minimized the disruptions and things that you work on during your presentations or your business? Share with us in the comments below.

Make sure you download our free checklist to assess your business:

This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances.  This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Stefan Klabunde.

About the Author

Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment ( , gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at or (214) 418-0258.

Check us out on the web at ,

Get Shawn’s latest book:

Add us on Twitter: @McBrideForBus #mcbrideforbusiness #3lawsofempowerment

Like us on Facebook:



Posted In: Business, Speaking

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons