Murphy’s Law

footprints in the sand

One of my brilliant slides - all in vain because the remote didn't work properly.

Murphy’s Law states: “If something can go wrong it will”, and it applies in most human endeavours, especially presentations.

Now I’ve been around for a while, given hundreds of presentations if not more, and am pretty proud of my skills and logisitics. Nevertheless, I was presenting on Creativity the other night, with a brilliantly designed and assembled minimalist but striking slide deck that enraptured the audience.

The venue was well known to me for its professionalism, technology and ambience – I have presented there scores of times wihout any hitches. This time was different, My presentation, as most, relies on blanking out slides as required. Unfortunately, the presentation remote control didn’t have this function. Why not? It’s basic.

By the time I discovered this, I was well into the presentation, couldn’t walk over to their laptop to hit the “B” key because it was 6 metres away in the corner of the room. I didn’t have my own remote with me because I didn’t think I’d need it. Bad move. Tie string around finger.

My otherwise briliiant presentation lost some of its intended shine. Lesson learned.

Who makes a @#$% remote without a blanking function? Up yours Murphy!

From the web

Other formulations/corollaries of Murphy’s law were described. The most memorable one was the mathematical formulation. It was pictured in the text as 1 + 1 -> 2, where the -> was a hand with the index finger pointing to the right. The text defined -> as “hardly every equals”.

The Murder Board

Are you familiar with the “Murder Board” concept? From Wikipedia:

A murder board is a committee of questioners set up to help someone prepare for a difficult oral examination. The term originated in the U.S. military but is also used in academic and government appointment contexts.

When you’re preparing for an important presentation where you need to convince people to take a course of action, it might be a good idea to set up a “Murder Board” like this:

  • Get colleagues to participate in your presentation,
  • then get them to ask the most difficult questions they can to try to negate the effect of your presentation
  • list the questions
  • analyse them for relevance and content
  • work on reframed responses
  • revise your presentation
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehease.