Getting Over Yourself

March 6, 2013

Which mistakes actually affect your presentation?


Not every mistake is created equal. In almost every case, it’s not the mistake that turns the audience away from you, but how you handle it. What will wreck your presentation, in almost every case, is not connecting with your audience.

So, let’s say you trip over your shoelace or make a mistake with your data — if you try to pretend it didn’t happen, you’ve disconnected. The audience doesn’t see you as human because you’re trying to pretend you’re not. Probably in the quest of being perfect.

If, on the other hand, at some point in your talk you realize you have been talking over their heads, are boring them, have made a huge mistake in information, and stop, clap your hand to your forehead (really or metaphorically) and speak right to the audience –human being to human being–you can get them on your side and move along. Because the alternative of continuing in the same boring or inappropriate vein will get you nowhere.

I don’t expect you to hope for mistakes, but you don’t have to fear their ruining your presentation–if you’re just willing to stop to fix it in a human way.

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