911 for Speaking Bloopers

If you've ever seen the outtakes of a movie or TV show, it can be quite funny. The actors make mistakes and then they laugh about it. But what about public speaking bloopers? Suddenly it doesn't seem so funny. I watched a man give a presentation with his fly open. Another presenter had the slides in the wrong order. President Bush frequently mispronounced words. And I once knocked over a cup of coffee while giving a seminar!

We're going to make mistakes. That's a given. But how you handle the mistake is what counts. What's your recovery strategy? I ask my audiences to think of their worst fear. One person was afraid she'd trip over a wire on the stage. So, imagine it actually happening. What could you do to recover?

How about saying... "I want you to know I've been practicing that entrance for weeks."

Or you could say... "Never let it be said that I don't know how to make an entrance."

Or... "Now that I have your attention..."

One motivational speaker had to contend with a fire in the middle of his speech. He led his audience to the parking lot, stood on a car, and continued his speech. If companies and cities can have disaster recovery strategies, so can you. Develop a list of one-liners that you can put in your toolbox and you'll be prepared for any situation.