Calling an audible: What to do when other speakers steal your thunder

What would you do if the presentation content you prepared suddenly became inappropriate or irrelevant minutes before you’re scheduled to speak? That’s exactly what happened to Brad L., a project manager and civil engineer:
“I recently presented at a daylong engineering conference. I prepared and knew the material well enough to present in my sleep. However, as I listened to each of the speakers preceding me, I became increasingly anxious as I realized that 75% of my presentation was being covered by others. I knew my material would simply be a repeat and, at best, would be a bore…”
Anyone who presents regularly has probably faced a similar scenario. It can happen for any number of reasons:
Other speakers “steal your thunder” (as Brad experienced)
You find out new information that changes the basis of your presentation
You realize the audience has a different level of knowledge about your topic than you expected
Sessions run late and your speaking time is cut in half
The result? You are faced with having to adjust your content at the last minute. In football this is known as “calling an audible.”
What not to do when facing the unexpected: Panic
As we all know, the best-laid plans sometimes go awry! No matter how much time you spend crafting your content and rehearsing, a time will come when you have to change your game plan at the line of scrimmage. It happened to film …