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Maybe you’ve been asked to give a speech. Your knees knock, and you have butterflies in your stomach. All the preparation in the world just doesn’t seem to help. Don’t worry about messing it up. People before you have done it too. They’ve made mistakes that left them extremely embarrassed, but they lived through it, and life went on. It won’t be the end of the world if you mess up. The thing is, you shouldn’t give up. Here are a few embarrassing moments that may make you feel a little more confident.

  • Barry Maher, Sales trainer had the following experience

I was on stage at a Los Angeles hotel, finishing up a keynote at an awards dinner for about 400 salespeople. The audience and I were in formal dress, and just as I was concluding my session, I noticed for the first time that I’d neglected to pull up the fly on my tuxedo pants. What was worse, the audience noticed me noticing it.

I quickly put on a face of comic surprise, and everyone roared. Then, as the laughter died down, I leaned against the podium, nodded knowingly, and said: “Remember the sales strategies we’re discussed this evening. Remember all the tips and tactics. But above all, remember that none of them mean a thing . . . unless you remember to close.”

I got a standing ovation. And for the rest of the evening, people were discussing whether or not I’d planned the whole incident.

  • This happened to Stephanie Schwartz

I was a corporate trainer for years. I’m a bigger girl, up top and on the bottom. In one class, I wanted to say, “I have some tips and hints for you, ” as I’ve said a million times in my career. Instead, I said, “I have some tits and hips for you. ” Not exactly what I meant.

  • This experience happened to Warren Mills

Principal, Afterburner Solutions: Accelerating Sales and Profitability

A number of years ago, pre-PowerPoint, I was asked at the last minute to address a group of law office technology managers. I needed a presentation quickly concerning the trends in technology. So I borrowed a set of glass slides from one of our senior technology guys and headed to Minneapolis.
I had a printout of the presentation in hand and planned to review the presentation on the flight. I took the printed copy of the presentation out of my briefcase and placed it in the seat pocket and then fell asleep. Naturally, I left the presentation in the seat pocket when I deplaned.

That evening, I spent many hours holding the slides up to a light in my hotel room, realizing very quickly that the entire presentation was loaded with acronyms that I didn’t recognize. The actual presentation went well, however, because every time an acronym came up that I didn’t recognize, I made it a contest with the audience to define the acronym. That’s making lemonade out of lemons.

As you can see, embarrassing things happen. If they happen to you, just remember you’re not alone.


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