So there I was, at the 2015 UK Digital experience awards, in a small meeting room, with my name badge showing my name and company on it, watching a presentation taking place that was being judged prior to the awards ceremony. So far, so boring.
Then half way through the pitch some dude (from here on to be referred to as Mr Knobhead) bursts into the room, slams the door behind him and continues to make a scene, for a good 2-3 minutes. He took off his coat (I had no idea someone could take that long and make that much noise removing a jacket), turned on his laptop (so we could all hear the Microsoft windows opening chimes on full volume), started typing (as if he was trying to smash the keys to oblivion), and coughed repeatedly. What a twat. The presenters got totally distracted, so did those watching, and so did the judges.
This background hullabaloo continued for the remaining 7 – 8 minutes of the presentation, so kudos to the presenters who got their pitch back on track, finished on time and completed the Q&A very professionally, despite the obvious disturbance.
When it was over and everyone started to leave the room, I resisted the urge to punch Mr Knobhead in the face, and instead turned to face him and gave him ‘the look’ (that’ll teach him) and was careful not to spill my sparkling mineral water as I glanced at his name badge in a ‘yeah now I know who you are, so watch out mister cos I’m a tough guy’ kind of way (at least that’s how it went in my head). That’s when the penny drops that I recognise the name as the next on the agenda to pitch to the judges for the award in this category.
Now it becomes clear – and on face value his dastardly plan had worked. He had deliberately tried to highjack the presentation of his competitors for the award category by taking the focus away from the pitch and the presentation and reducing their chance of success. I felt quite irritated and tense about this, but then as I reach the door to leave something great happened.
The head of the judging panel points at Mr Knobhead and says – ‘if you are going to stay in this room, you will turn your computer off and please remain seated and quiet‘ To which Mr Knobhead replied in a smug way ‘oh I need my computer – it’s me presenting next.’
The head judge then paused, slowly turned round and immediately made some notes on his pad. He then called the other 3 judges into small huddle, from which they all came out of and scribbled more notes on their respective pads.
Although Mr Knobhead’s initial plan did what he wanted, the repercussions of his actions were as obvious as his attempts to distract the previous presenters.
No matter how good his presentation was, he was not going to win anything today. So I say to you Mr Knobhead, he who highjacked a presentation – you sir are a prat and you failed. You showed not intelligence or good strategy – you showed ignorance and bad form. And you got your just deserts.
If you are planning or preparing to attend a similar event, and have been nominated for an award – don’t be the dick in the room worried about what the other candidates are doing, and focus your time and attention on trying to put them off. Worry about what you need to do, put your ninja presentation skills into practise and focus purely on that.
You still might not win, but at least you won’t become a knobhead in the process.