Today we had our country-wide staff meeting at work. There were about 30 of us, and all the Directors had to make presentations about our 2008 program results and projections for 2009 activities. I prepared my requisite 45-minute presentation last night, and was all set to contribute my part to the meeting. However, when my turn was up, the projector decided to malfunction. We fumbled with it for about 10 minutes, then it became apparent that the situation wasn't going to resolve itself quickly.
Instead of further delaying our long meeting waiting for the projector to function, I decided to hell with it, I'd present improv-style. I knew more or less what was on my slides, and announced to the group what I planned to do. Despite the lack of notes or anything, the presentation went smoothly. I hit on most of the points I'd meant to cover, and best of all I managed to hold everyone's attention since I wasn't droning on or reading directly from pre-prepared slides. I think I talked too fast, and I know it was an intense presentation, but in the end it was all good. I was actually glad that I'd presented ad-lib, because it was over quickly (I only used 25 of my alloted 45 minutes) and I didn't feel limited by a bunch of boring slides. Everyone else was appreciative too because, thanks to my presentation, we were back on schedule.
I got several comments, however, along the lines of "Oh my God, how did you do that? I'd never have been able to present spontaneously with no slides!" For me, it wasn't that big of a deal. Thankfully, I was born with the Shameless-Public-Speaker-and/or-Performer gene, and none of this has ever bothered me.
My boss seemed pleased, too, and commented that I am a good communicator. He also observed that I was under my time limit, but whatever. I am the new girl, with less than 2 months with the organization. I can get away with a short presentation, especially if it means everyone going home on time.