Adapting a Presentation

As some of you already know, I served as the best man in a friend’s wedding a few weekends ago. It was actually my first time being part of a wedding party, so attending to the “best man” duties was certainly a new experience. (For those of you who don’t know, the best man typically has two primary jobs: holding onto the wedding rings for the 24 hours before the ceremony, and delivering a toast at the reception. Both of those tasks can be very intimidating.)

Having never before delivered a wedding toast (and having found wildly divergent styles in my research), I wasn’t sure what to expect, so to be safe I prepared a five-minute memorized presentation with sentimental thoughts about the couple and the groom in particular, as well as a few pieces of advice for the two of them going forward. Lo and behold, the matron of honor delivered her toast right before mine and went about 30 seconds. So as I stood there in the seconds between her applause and the start of my toast, I mentally slashed about 80% of the content from my little speech. I’m still amazed that no one noticed anything.

With that in mind, have you ever given a presentation where you had to make last-minute changes? What did you do to adapt to the situation? Did it work as well as you had hoped, or perhaps even better? What did you learn from that experience, and what advice would you give to others?

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2 responses to “Adapting a Presentation”

  1. Emma says :

    That’s great that you were able to improvise on the spot. Luckily, I haven’t had to make last minute changes in any speeches before. I have a feeling that many of us will probably have to be prepared with back-up ideas in case our demonstration for the next presentation doesn’t go as expected.

  2. Rebecca Ivic says :

    Oh, you should have seen him. Brian was rehearsing the night before the wedding with note cards, and on the day of as well. I think in the end, the best man speech was better because in this situation, it came from the heart, and not from his cards. 😉

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