June 24, 2019

How to Handle Mistakes in Presentations

We are all familiar with the adage, “to err is human.” Even during presentations, bloopers, blunders and errors can trip presenters up. However, by taking the right action and dealing with mistakes correctly, your presentation can stay on track and still be a success.

Accepting that mistakes happen and tackling them head on allows you to create a crisis plan. Practicing how to handle mistakes in advance is a good way to prepare yourself.

Keep Calm

The first step is to accept mistakes as part of life and stay calm. A mistake isn’t the end of the world, nor the end of a presentation. It’s important to maintain composure, not to panic and stay on track.

To Fix Mistakes or Not

Sometimes an audience doesn’t even notice small mistakes and they can just be ignored. But even if someone does notice them, it’s sometimes better to let them go and not interrupt the flow of your presentation. Mistakes that have a negative impact on your presentation or lead to confusion should be immediately addressed and corrected. Be honest with yourself and evaluate the impact of your blunder objectively.

Keep Your Composure

Always address and correct obvious errors that disrupt your presentation or mislead your audience. But make sure to do so quickly and without a lot of fuss. Your listeners will appreciate your candor.

Keep Smiling

The power and impact of a sincere smile should never be underestimated. Audiences usually react not to the mistake itself, but to the reaction of the presenter. A smile signals calmness and that everything is under control. This positivity is transferred to the audience and the presentation can continue.

Keep Going

Address your blunder, correct it and move on. The sooner the presentation gets back on track, the more comfortable your audience will feel.

Mistakes happen. Allow yourself to make mistakes and accept them with confidence and grace. Your audience will follow your lead.


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