The Past is Passed: Putting Mistakes Behind You
13 May 2021 - 15:20, by , in Public speaking tips, Comments off

In our virtual world of presentations, we’ve all seen a few mishaps: a child running in to tell his Dad that he has to go poop, a participant in a workshop that forgot to shut of their mic and is heard saying, “this guy is so boring” we’ve even seen some clips of half naked people on Zoom!


Mistakes? So What?

When giving a presentation, I always remind clients that mistakes happen. Maybe the slide deck doesn’t appear, perhaps the light on the stage disappears and leaves you in darkness, maybe you have a brain freeze and completely forget what you’re going to say next. The key is to just let it go and move on. If you dwell on the fact while giving your presentation that you forgot to thank your host for the introduction, you won’t be in the moment of giving your presentation. Plus, if you start to look horrified during a presentation about puppy adoption, the audience will get worried. 

So, like Frank Sinatra says, “I pick myself up, dust myself, off and start all over again.”


Here are some tips on how to learn and cope with your mistakes   

Ask why 

Did you freeze and completely blank out? Why was that?  Did you start coughing and couldn’t stop? What do you think you needed to prevent that?


Ask a Friend

Talk to a colleague or friend if that has ever happened to them. They’ll probably have a story to tell. Ask how they recovered. Maybe they took time to reflect, maybe they went back into the ring. 


Find three things that worked in your presentation

I just bet that the entire speech didn’t suck. Something must have worked. Maybe you looked really good, maybe your slide deck worked well. It is not that you’re trying to overshadow your mistake but help you realize the entire presentation wasn’t a disaster. Take a sheet of paper and write three things that worked.  


Making improvements

How will you make your presentation even better? Maybe you need to practice your speech more so that you know it inside and out. Maybe you need to have water nearby to prevent your throat from getting dry.   


Let Go and Laugh at Yourself

You’ve worked on it and it won’t happen again. Now you have to let it go. When your colleague recounted the story of making a mistake, did they laugh? Probably.  

The best thing to do is to forgive, yes I said that right, forgive YOURSELF! I’m sure everyone has forgiven you. And when you see someone making a mistake, don’t you forgive them right away?