Make A Mistake During A Speech? Here’s How To Recover

Making mistakes during a speech is normal. The key is how you recover when things don’t go as planned.

In this short video, Michael Grinder, the pioneer of nonverbal communication, demonstrates how you can easily recover from a mistake during public speaking using strategies from his book “Charisma – The Art of Relationships.”

Here’s what to do when mistakes happen during a speech:

  • Just keep going
  • Learn from whatever you do
  • End well
  • And remember, recovery is more important than perfection.

Modified transcript:

Michael Grinder here. You know, I make speeches all the time. Is it perfect? No, we don’t live in Camelot. You can’t be perfect all the time. So then the question is how do you recover when you make a mistake?

1. Keep going

Keep going, just keep going, because here’s the secret: High performers believe recovery is more important than perfection.

So if you would, let’s use an example from baseball. Talk about people knowing how to recover. You watch what they do when they’re in the batter’s box. There they are. They take a terrible swing at the ball, and what do they do? They step out of the area. They do a clothing adjustment, which I will not entertain you with.

When they get back in, watch their face. Their face indicates, “I don’t know who the fool was before, but I’m here now, and this is the one that’s gonna do well.”

So if I may, baseball is a great example of how to understand how you’ve got to recover. You got to keep playing the game. And by doing that, you’ll be amazed at how you correct yourself.

I love the line from Thomas Edison. He said — talk about arrogance — “I’ve never made a mistake.” So the proverbial 99 times when the light bulb didn’t produce electricity, he said, “I learned from it.”

2. Learn from whatever you do

That’s the second part of “recovery is more important than perfection” – and you get to practice it more often.

High performers pretend that they’re Egyptians. What do we mean by that? They live in denial. They just keep going.

3. Save something good for the end

And if you’re giving a speech or a presentation, the last 10 minutes is what the audience remembers. Save a goodie for the last 10 minutes, because when they walk out, they’re going to say, “That was good.”

Why? Because you ended it well.

Michael Grinder here. Come on, keep presenting, keep teaching; you’ll be fine.

Recovery is more important than perfection.

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