Presentation Skills: Keep Moving Past Your Mistakes

Presenting in front of an audience makes almost everyone a little bit nervous. After more than 20 years of teaching and training I still feel anxious right before I’m supposed to start. Unfortunately, fear tends to fluster presenters and cause them to make the very mistakes they’re worried about making. They stammer, say the wrong word, skip an important idea, or forget how to use the remote control for their slides. Any of these things can feel like a disaster when people are watching you. But chances are these issues feel like a much bigger deal to you than they do to the audience. Honestly, they might not even notice.

If you’re already nervous, the worst thing you can do is draw attention to your mistakes. Take a lesson from the kid in the video above and keep moving past them instead of getting upset. Improvise a solution (like he does when his cymbal breaks just after the one minute mark in the video) or quickly correct yourself if you’ve said something factually incorrect. Salute if you think it will help! But don’t dwell on what’s gone wrong. What you want to do instead is get to the next part of your presentation that goes right. That’s what will make you look good and help accomplish your goals.

Cymbal dilemma

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