When you are standing in front of an audience giving a giving a talk, I know you don’t want to make a mistake. You don’t want to experience stumbling over words, forgetting what you were going to say, or blurting out something you didn’t intend to say.
But, if any of those situations happen, I say to you….. so what? Is that really what the audience wants from you….to be perfect? To never make a mistake?
Not in my experience. Audiences want relevant information that will help them do their jobs better. Or, they want to be entertained.
When you make a mistake, depending upon your audience and the topic, you have choices on how to deal with it.
Since my seminars are not formal, I call out my mistake, poke fun at myself, and then move on. I don’t belabor it; I don’t let it throw me off.
If I forget where I was going with a point, I call it out. “Gosh..I was going somewhere with this point, but my mind went blank.”
Someone in the audience will always help me get back on track. “You were talking about X.”
If you are in a more serious or formal setting, you may say, “I misspoke. Let me go back and give you the correct information.”
If you forget where you are, look back at your PPT to remind yourself or, look down at your notes. You can do this in silence.
I can’t imagine your audiences holding that against you. And, in fact, you may be setting an example for them as to how to handle a mistake when they are presenting.
We speakers always want to be fluid, articulate and laser-sharp. But, we are human and make mistakes.
I have found that perfection is a lofty goal. It is far more important to be human and connect with your audience.
So, remember, strive for connection….not perfection.