Your reaction sets the tone

Despite your best efforts to prepare for a presentation, you can’t prevent every possible mishap. The best you can do is to minimize the disruption and show your grace.

That’s what German Chancellor Angela Merkel did at a political dinner on Ash Wednesday. She had just sat down when a waiter served her a beer—and then spilled five more beers from his tray down her back.

Merkel gave a little shriek when the beer spilled, but she quickly regained her composure and even smiled at the waiter, according to The Telegraph. Shortly after that, Merkel delivered her speech.

Whether a server spills soup in your lap, the computer with your slides freezes or the audio system fails, your reaction will set the tone for how the audience remembers the incident, and whether it becomes more memorable than your remarks. Even if they remember the mishap, make sure that the lasting impression is the grace with which you handle the situation.

What is the worst thing that has happened to you before a presentation, and how did you handle it?

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