Most speakers go to one of two extremes when it comes to making mistakes in front of audiences. 1. Instantly calling attention to mistakes by apologizing, wincing, and generally beating yourself up, or 2. Putting on a front of perfection and denying that you have ever made a mistake about anything, ever, under any circumstances.
In the first case, your audience is distracted not by your mistakes, but by your reaction to your own mistakes. You slow down the presentation because audience members are now focusing on your reaction to your own mistakes. You might get points for humility, but you lose points because fewer messages are delivered.
In the second case, if you never admit to making mistakes, you seem less human. You can run the risk of seeming arrogant or untouchable if you attempt to seem flawless.
I believe there is a middle ground: occasionally admit to making mistakes, but do so for the purpose of communicating a relevant message. One day I was giving a speech to executives at... (click to continue reading)
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