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I was leading some  workshops earlier this week.   We had a series of seminars in the morning.  We had lunch.  Then we came back together for 3 more seminars in the afternoon. Ouch.

It was dreadful.  The room had one presenter who talked quite enjoyably for an hour.  Then a second presenter got up and spoke enjoyably for another hour.  By the end of the second hour most of the oxygen had left the room and most of the life was quickly following behind it.  People were bleary eyed and sopoforic.  (Great word eh?)


As leader of the workshops it was up to me to figure out what to do.  I called an audible at the line of scrimmage.   ” Let’s break for coffee, cold water and for fresh air.  See you all back in 30 minutes (not 15). ”

I also opted to switch up the room location.  We moved from a crowded, low ceiling, dark room to an oversized, bright (floor to ceiling windows), airy location.

And we switched up approaches.  I was supposed to present a problem and solution seminar talking about a critical issue in our organization.  Instead of a “talking head” seminar, I modified it and made it into an audience participating “brainstorming” exercise.   I modified my 45 minute power point presentation into a 5 minute introduction followed by 3 fifteen minute segments where the listeners rallied into groups of 3 or 4 and brainstormed solutions to  the problems I put up for consideration.

Net effect?  The room came alive.  It was life giving and not life sucking.  Why?   A couple of key things–we changed the room dynamics and we changed the approach to invite people to energize.  It was great.    Sometimes as a presenter if it’s not one thing it’s the other that gets you.

So, lesson for readers who give presentation–if you get the after lunch hour, “ouch”.   It’s the zero hour of the day.  If the presentation happens to be in a dark, tired room, “double ouch”.  If your presentation is a talking-head approach, “triple ouch”.    Do what you can to give yourself a chance.

PS.  If you are a Bible reader, take a look at the story of Eutychus.  Acts 20:7-12.