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Presentation Mistakes: 3 Ways to Handle Yours

We all make mistakes

We all make presentation mistakes. Sometimes we don’t realize we’ve made them until it’s too late. Sometimes the presentation mistakes don’t get noticed by others, and sometimes they do. You may have experienced the following: you are in the middle of a presentation when you realize the information on your next slide is wrong. What do you do? Continue presenting the information as though nothing is out of the ordinary? Admit that there is a mistake? Use a little humor and turn it into a test to see if anyone can spot the mistake?

3 reasons to prevent the audience from pointing out presentation mistakes

  1. You stay in control. If you point it out you are in control of the situation. You are only human and you can address it in a way that you think works best for your personality.
  2. You can stop questions that might annoy you.  Unfortunately there are some people who delight in picking holes in things. There are others who are more interested in the accuracy of details than in the bigger picture. Someone who is concerned about accuracy will be upset about the fact that, e.g. all the nouns in a headline do not start with a capital, and may chose to point this out. If you’re a big picture kind of person, you will not understand why the other person felt it necessary to comment on something so seemingly trivial. You will get irritated, which is not helpful in the middle of a presentation, and you might not respond to that positively.
  3. You save face. It can be disconcerting and embarrassing to have someone in the audience draw attention to your mistake. This may affect you for the rest of the presentation.  You may also lose credibility.

Phrases to use when realizing presentation mistakes

  • “Can anyone spot the mistake on this slide?”
  • “I’ve just noticed a mistake on this slide. It should read sales rose by 2% not to 2%. Apologies for that.“
  • “Bear with me for a second while I correct the error here”.Contact us now

3 results of pointing out your own presentation mistakes

  1. You stay credible. Mistakes are OK if you own up to them. If someone else points them out then this is where you can begin to feel uncomfortable.
  2. You come across as human.  Your open, honest approach will impress. After all, who doesn’t make mistakes?
  3. You have the opportunity to include the audience. If you challenge them to find the mistake, they need to wake up and think.

Presentation mistakes aren’t generally a problem. It’s how they are handled that can be. Having a strategy ready for how to react if you notice a mistake in your own presentation, will prevent you from having to think on your feet. Let us know if you have any other phrase or ideas to add to this post. Want to know more how how to become a better presenter? Click here.

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