I recently attended an event to hear an author speak. He was an excellent presenter. He knew his subject backward and forward. His talk was well rehearsed. His passion was obvious. He projected and enunciated, and I had no problem following his fairly complex thesis. He was truly top-notch.
There was one point, however, when I wondered if maybe he was too good. At about 20 minutes into his speech, a third of the lights in the conference room where we sat went out unexpectedly. I saw the speaker’s eyes flicker to the ceiling, but other than that, he didn’t acknowledge the sudden semi-darkness. He just kept on going.
On one hand, I was really impressed; a less adept speaker might have been flustered by the glitch. But on the other hand, I wondered if, perhaps, he should have paused to acknowledge the issue—if only to redirect the audience’s attention back to him. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who stopped fully listening for a few minutes as I wondered about what had happened and watched a panel member frantically try to get to the lights back on.
The speaker didn’t miss a beat, but I sure did.
What would you have done as the speaker in that situation?