You carefully put together the content!
You rehearsed well and feel ready!
You start with confidence and are doing a great job!
However, there is a chance that you might fumble during a presentation.
Is that the end of your great opportunity? Will people hold it against you forever? Is your career finished?
First of all, “Oops” moments are normal and not the end of the world. The best speakers goof up on stage or on camera.
Having said that, there are a few ways in which you can avoid them or cover them up:
1. Prepare well: One of the ways to goof-proof is to prepare well. Know your material well, rehearse properly, arrive early and get familiar with the equipment, ensure that your ppt runs at the venue or your video is ready to be played correctly. Covering your bases is the best thing you can do
2. Move on: If you fumble on a word, say it correctly and move on. Don’t make it too obvious by talking about it or justifying it. The audience is forgiving of such things and is actually rooting for you.
3. Use self deprecatory humour: You can make fun of your own blooper – if it was noticeable and you think it’s important to address it.
You could say – “Wow! I never thought I could mess that up since it came out correct every time I practiced”
OR – for tech glitches despite checking everything – it has happened to me during training programs – “Like they say, technology has a mind of its own while we have other plans”.
4. Stay confident: Don’t let one mistake – or even 3 – mar your confidence. As long as you make sense overall, the audience is rooting for you.
And with some humility and down to earth attitude, you’ll be in their good books any which way.
5. Watch stand up comedians: I find that watching others can help us learn so much. And especially stand up comedy.
Public speaking is hard – but to ensure that people laugh when you speak is even harder!
In one of the Netflix specials, Atul Khatri starts his act with – “I recently turned 50” and the audience gave no response, which was unexpected for him. So he laughed and said, “I usually get an ovation here” and the people start clapping.
He could have gotten flustered and let that line fall flat. He could have moved on. But his experience in stand up and confidence as a speaker saved him.
The ice was broken. And his show was a hit from the word go despite the little mishap at the beginning.
You may goof up or not get the response expected but keep at it. It’s okay to goof up and then move on. Just remember the lesson learnt for the future!