Public Speaking – Handling an Awkward Moment with Grace

I recently had an opportunity to practice a public speaking skill by handling an awkward moment.

shoe about to step on a banana peel as an indication of things going wrong during public speaking

The #1 Rule

As  Lilly Walters instructs, “Remember our motto. Expect the unexpected,” it is important to be prepared for jams, mix-ups, and mistakes. As Murphy’s law dictates, if anything can go wrong it will. The #1 rule is this: STAY COOL! When something goes wrong, the audience looks to you for how to react. If you are not alarmed, they won’t be alarmed, either.

The Awkward Moment

It was during a Toastmaster Awards and Installation Banquet. Our District holds their annual event in August. The prestigious event honors successes from the previous year and recognizes the leaders stepping in for the new year. The “Top 3” officers select a leader to perform the installation ceremony.  Bowled-over with honor when the incoming District Director, Lance Webster, asked me to install him,  I went to great lengths to prepare fun yet respectful installation script. All was well, until something I did not expect happened…

My cochlear implant device decided to fall off my ear and dangle for all to see. I couldn’t believe it. Well, sort of couldn’t believe it. I was musing with the awful thought of it falling off during such a presentation, and, I guess Law of Attraction and Murphy’s Law got together and made it happen. Below is a short video of the awkward moment and how I dealt with it. I think I handled it well.  Here is the video:

Lesson Learned

From this experience, I realized that the cochlear could pop off my ear at a most inopportune time.  Consequently,  you can bet I will not be wearing the cochlear implant device during my TEDx presentation in January!


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