I’m not perfect; I’m sure anyone who reads who reads this blog knows I regularly confess errors I have made, because I know things go wrong. When we are delivering a speech, presentation, or any other work, it is easy to think that if anything goes wrong, it will be a massive fail! Well in my time I have made mistakes, as anyone else who is human and generous will tell you.

In my time I have forgotten words, the slides haven’t worked during a presentation, the trains have been cancelled so I have arrived 5 minutes before curtains up for my post graduate performance….. But the WORST event was when I fell over on stage. Yes, it was embarrassing!

I was playing Jane Seymour in a performance (see a photograph above). I had to make a grand entrance behind Queen Anne (Boleyn) and then after a brief dialogue, sit down on a chair. Needless to say, when I did this, the chair COLLAPSED under me and I fell over. There was a stunned silence from the other cast members and the audience. I had a split moment to decide what to do a) have a diva strop b) cry or c) laugh about it. I decided to go with c and had a big belly laugh. Of course the audience relaxed and laughed and there were cheers and whooping and the cast relaxed too, with some priceless comments! Throughout the show, there were ‘ad libs’ referring to my fall and at the curtain call I had the biggest cheer.

Although I was shaken and had nasty bruises, I was fine and had the best result under the circumstances. You see “No one died” and although it was a shame that the piece was disrupted by this incident, it didn’t ruin the performance or spoil the experience for the audience.

It is really easy to feel a ‘failure’ if something goes wrong, but it is good to put the situation into perspective. Only today ‘Right Said Fred’ the performer was singing live on Radio 2 and forgot his words. He’s a marvellous musician and singer, and it was just one of those things.

So if you do make a mistake, reflect afterwards and try to get it into perspective: We all make mistakes and it makes us human. As long as we don’t have a meltdown (either with tears or strop), people will recognise we are only human. When we make a mistake it is how we get out of the muddle and what we learn from the mistake so we can improve. That makes us human and a better person.

The post When things go wrong! appeared first on The Executive Voice Speaking Coach.

Susan Heaton-Wright
About the author

Susan Heaton Wright is a former opera singer who works with successful individuals and teams to make an impact with their voices and physical presence. Using her experience in using the voice and performing on stage, she works with people to improve their performances in a range of business situations; from meeting skills and on the telephone, to public speaking, presentations and appearing on the media.

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