My last talked about the fourth wall—an term that refers to the invisible “fourth wall” between the audience and the stage.

But what about the “fifth wall?”

Don't worry if you've never heard of it. I made it up.

“The fifth wall” refers to the many variables you deal with as a .

Here are examples of breaking the fifth wall:

Gladys is signaling me that we're out of so I'm going to wrap things up.
We had a few difficulties and got off to a late start so pardon me if I talk a bit fast.
Looks like my slide remote stopped working so I'll have to advance the manually.

Don't break the fifth wall.

Your audience doesn't need to hear about the challenges you face as a . They have their own jobs to get done and the people they serve aren't interested in hearing excuses.

A professional adapts to changing circumstances with grace and dignity.

Every problem is an opportunity.

When inevitably fails or the clock inevitably runs down, manage the situation with a smile.

The strength you show under pressure will distinguish you from lesser speakers and earn you the admiration of your audience.