What if it all goes wrong?

I’m giving a talk in two weeks, and I was running some ideas by a new friend of mine who specializes in presentation preparation. He left me with this:

What happens if they don’t buy into what you’re saying?

Basically, the worst-case scenario.

It’s such a great question because my reaction to the unthinkable gives me the poise I need to overcome the uncertainty and Resistance. I’m not particularly fearful of an audience or embarrassing myself, but there’s a human part of all of us that desires acceptance, praise, and encouragement.

I enjoy making people laugh, so I’m often making small quips during the course of conversations. My “humor” is dry and sarcastic, and my delivery is rather deadpan — some people “get” me, and some don’t.

I usually stop at nothing maintain an upbeat demeanor and follow up with a barrage of jokes to redeem myself keep it moving if one happens to tank, so my reputation as an aspiring stand-up comedian mildly humorous often remains intact.

I think the goal is to determine what we want out of things, “pre-experience” what it would be like if the proverbial roof came crashing down on our efforts, and examine our reaction to make sure we’re doing things for the right reasons.

To be clear: if I walked off the stage in a huff and told the crowd that they were idiots, then my ego was probably too large for the venue in the first place. Additionally, this is an indicator that I wasn’t there primarily to give and share generously, but rather for self-serving motives.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.