Sunday, June 27, 2010

World Cup 2010: Putting Mistakes Behind You

Here is a speaking challenge I hear over and over again from my clients:

Once I mess up, I just can't get back on track.

Sound familiar? Truly, one of the most powerful speaking skills is the ability to put your mistakes behind you.

With this in mind, check out this June 2010 excerpt from

World Cup 2010, Mental Preparation and Putting Mistakes Behind You

Since England’s disappointing result in their 2010 FIFA World Cup opening match against the USA, fingers of blame have been pointing at England goalkeeper Robert Green...Green fumbled the ball pretty spectacularly, allowing a – let’s face it – fairly average shot at goal by Clint Dempsey of the USA to hit the back of the net.

So how do you put a mistake you’ve made in front of the whole world behind you; how do you move on when the world’s press are having a field day at your expense, and you’re now the butt of every global text and email joke in circulation? In this case, mental preparation will be key.

Whats done is done.

In a post-match interview, Green said, “It’s done. It happened. It’s not something you can allow to affect yourself. It’s very disappointing, but it’s happened.”


Easier said than done, right?

Especially when you're in the middle of your presentation, how do you put mistakes behind you and move forward?

The answer? Return to your core message. Remember why you are there in the first place and what you are trying to communicate:

1. What is the one thing you want your audience to know?

2. How do you want them to feel when they listen to you?

3. What do you want them to do after your presentation?

Returning to your core message enables you to get out of the past (your mistake/s) and get into the present moment. And being able to be fully present with your audience is critical the success of your speech.

From the Green Room: Don't be perfect. Be present. When you mess up, get out of the past and into the present moment by returning to your core message.

For more on this topic, look at my post from last September,
Be a Starfish Speaker.


Anonymous said...

Wise advice as always.
But if one messes up during a speech, it might be difficult to return to the "core message" since an insufficiently defined core message is probably the main reason why people mess up to begin with. Your three questions are clearly the sine qua non of successful speech prep.

Sarah Gershman said...

Truthfully, there is no such think as a perfectly executed speech. You can have the clearest message in the world and still get off track. The purpose of the core message is not only for the audience - but for the speaker as well - to help manage the inevitable mistakes. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!