Recover from the wrong-place mistake

Telling the audience that you are happy to be here—and then saying the wrong city name or group name—is a painful mistake for a speaker to make. I saw it happen again recently, but this time I was impressed by how the person recovered. (I won’t embarrass her by revealing her name.)

As soon as the speaker said how happy she was to be in Nashville, my friend and I winced, because we were in Knoxville, Tenn. The speaker continued her remarks, but within a couple of sentences she mentioned Knoxville. She didn’t call attention to her mistake, but she made it clear for those who had noticed that she knew what she had done and, yes, she did know where she was performing.

Toward the end of the event, she mentioned Knoxville one more time, leaving no doubt that she was sure about the location.

You can’t avoid every mistake when you speak, but you can handle those mistakes well to leave the audience with a positive impression.

We’d love to hear your stories about how you or another speaker gracefully recovered from a mistake. Please share them in the Comments section below.


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