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Top 3 Presentation Disasters of 2004

During the year we've seen some great examples from celebrities of presentation Do's and Don'ts. On the Do -side we've seen how an actor, former body builder, named Arnold, can morph into a Governor through demonstrating both charisma and confidence. We've also seen some really terrible demonstrations of behaviors that we wouldn't be caught dead doing in public.

As Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage”. I’ll go ahead and take it a step further and say that all the world is a presentation. How we present ourselves in the world is how we are judged. All we have to do is go off course, or off key, just once and that is what people remember.

There’s some life and business lessons we can learn from these celebrities disasters and mistakes.


1. Janet Jackson’s Wardrobe Malfunction

What were you thinking, Janet?

Janet Jackson says it was all her fault that the costume reveal at the end of the number was only supposed to reveal a red lace garment under the bodice. "The decision to have a costume reveal at the end of my halftime show performance was made after final rehearsals," the statement, which is on the MTV Web site. "MTV was completely unaware of it. It was not my intention that it go as far as it did."

What can we learn from Janet’s performance?

1. Always rehearse before a presentation and stick to the script.
2. Keep your clothes on when on National TV (and other public places).
3. When you do something really dumb, people tend to remember it for a long time.


2. Donald Trump’s Hair

What’s the deal here, Mr. Trump?

From USA Today I learned that in 2002, David Letterman shared the Top 10 Ways to Describe Donald Trump's Hair. They included: 7. Trumpy, 6. Strangely hypnotic, 5.Unbe-weave-able, 2. Wiggy, and my personal favorite, 1. Taj Ma-helmet.

"It's been good for me over the years," Trump told USA TODAY. "No," he says, he has never had a stylist. "Maybe that's my problem."

What can we learn from Mr. Trump’s hair?

1. Even if you are richer than God and famous ­ if you have funny looking hair, people will make fun of you.
2. If you are going to be in the public eye, listen to your friends and if they tell you that you look like a fool, believe them.
3. Be open to change.
4. Get a stylist.

3. Ashlee Simpson Caught Lip Syncing on Saturday Night Live

What happened, Ashlee?

The Washington Post reports that Ashlee Simpson was caught lip-syncing her "live" performance on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." This Milli Vanilli moment has caused great embarrassment not only for Simpson -- who initially blamed her band but later switched her story and blamed acid reflux disease -- but also for "Saturday Night Live," which for years has promoted the fact that its weekly live music acts are, well, live.

What can we learn from Ashlee’s um, performance?

1. Always rehearse before a presentation and stick to the script. (make sure to have the right script)
2. Take responsibility for your mistake (don’t blame your band or others). 3.Deliver what you promise.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our Top 3 Presentation Disasters for 2004. Here’s hoping that your 2005 is filled with success both personally and professionally!

Author: Dana Bristol-Smith

Dana Bristol-Smith is the founder of Speak for Success, an organization that works with companies to improve the quality of communications in business. Dana can be reached at: dana@speakforsuccess.net or please visit: http://www.speakforsuccess.net

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