Keep Calm and Carry On: How to Handle Mistakes in a Presentation
Mistakes happen to everyone. In presentations, they can occur in the form of incorrect figures or misleading facts. Sometimes the information presented calls into question, or even criticizes, the company policy of one of your audience members, while other times funny anecdotes fall flat.
In short, lots of things can go wrong during a presentation. Creating a plan B to deal with any unexpected snafus can help you react professionally, keep a cool head and get your presentation back on course.
Here are the most effective ways to handle blunders, reassure your audience and continue with your presentation:
Apologizing seems obvious but in the heat of the moment, most people forget to do it. If you’ve made a mistake, acknowledge it. A sincere apology is often the best way to settle things down and move on with your presentation.
Clear the Air
Take the time to clear up any misunderstandings with your audience by expressing yourself clearly and precisely. Half-baked excuses or explanations only create more confusion and come across as unprofessional.
Do Your Homework
Let’s face it; sometimes a presentation is put together at the last minute, presenters haven’t done enough research on their topic and their audience calls them out on misleading information. If this happens to you, simply admit it. Owning up to a lack of preparedness shows your audience that you are listening to them, take their critique seriously and are willing to improve your presentation.
Now’s the time to go back and really research your information. Any changes or corrections can be shared with you audience in a revised presentation or an email.
Sooner or later every presenter will bungle something. All anyone can do is make sure they’re prepared to handle these inevitable mistakes. By remaining calm and professional, you can quickly smooth things over and get back to your presentation.