In one of my first big conferences the Kmart team was in the
hectic stage of pre-meeting preparation. More than 250
people were going to be in front of us a few minutes, several
of whom were already in their seats.

To open the conference I had prepared a
presentation, which was on my laptop computer situated on
the table at the foot of the stage. Tom and Dave had a
second laptop on which they were going to show a new
computer-based sales analysis tool we were introducing to
Kmart’s vendors.

Being somewhat inexperienced in conference preparation,
we were extremely stressed in trying to make sure every
detail was covered.

Thirty minutes before the start we were quickly reviewing our
agenda. Computers were ready to go, the microphones
were set, and we all knew who would be speaking, for how
long, and in what order.

Five minutes to go. People were in their seats. The set-up
work was complete and we could start to relax a little.

Then it happened.

Someone had set a glass of water on the table next to my
computer, which was the only one with the PowerPoint
presentation. Nobody noticed it until someone else bumped
the table. The top heavy glass immediately toppled right
onto the computer.

The microphones were able to pick up the crackling noise
and the people near the front of the room could see a little
steam come from under the keyboard.

With only a couple of minutes to go, we were now left without
the opening presentation.

Tom, Dave, and I learned more about professionalism in
seminars at that moment than we ever could have gotten out
of a textbook. You must totally know what you are presenting
so that when your peripherals cease to be available you can
still make your presentation.

To this day I do not recall exactly how we handled it, but the
people in the audience never knew anything had gone
wrong. Evaluations were exemplary and compliments
flowed after the seminar.

More importantly, we were able to break any future tension
by simply saying, “Get away from here with that water.”

Life Lessons:
  • Morale #1: Know what you talk about.
  • Morale #2: Talk about what you know.

Use this ah-ha moment story for developing skills in these
The Water Glass
As Aesop established hundreds of years
ago with his timeless fables we remember
words best when we become engaged in a
story. Max has compiled an anecdotal
story collection designed to generate “ah-
ha” moments during coaching sessions,
presentations, and meetings.
Click here to
see more.

©2007 Max Impact, Rochester Hills, Michigan,USA