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How to make masterfull public speaking mistakes!

Posted by Nathalie on May 14, 2014 at 3:20 PM

The most common mistake we make when public speaking is to think that we have to be perfect, confident or clever. The truth is, the more imperfect you are the more interesting you are! That's right, your heard me. My number one tip for public speakers is to go right ahead and stuff up. Forget your words, drop your notes, have a sneeze attack. Just do whatever happens in the moment. But for goodness sake, just do it with style!

The three most common public speaking stuff ups are:

1. Forgetting what you were going to say

2. Becoming a robot (where you just read from your notes and don't connect withyour audience)*

3. Freezing up

Now here is the key...don't try and AVOID any of the above stuff up's. If you try and avoid them, you will just feel more pressure.


I will never forget a book reading I once attended at my local library. The reader started off strong, casual and relaxed. It was delightful. But then he forgot where he was on the page. His face went bright red as he fumbled to find his spot. He finally found it and carried on. But the rest of his reading was robotic, nervous and too fast. The audience felt awkward and nevous that he would make another mistake. Sound familiar?

Now let's re-imagine this scenario. Imagine if he forgot where he was on the page. Then took a brief moment to find his place before casually mentioning "aaah here we are!" and then carrying on. The audience would be impressed that he is so relaxed. The rest of the reading would be even more awesome because the audience now trusts he is capable of making masterful mistakes. This means they don't have to worry about him stuffing up again, in fact they may even look forward to it. They can just enjoy the experience!

One of the best times I have ever had whilst public speaking was to a large group of high school students. I completely forgot what I was going to say next. Rather than freezing up and feeling embarrassed, I did the exact opposite. I simply said "I have no idea what I was about to say, can anyone here guess where I was going with that?" Everyone in the room laughed. One girl from the second row put up her hand and gave me a suggestion. It was a great moment. I was OK with stuffing up, so everyone else was too! In fact it made me even more interesting (and cool).

See? You just gotta know how to be masterfull! EVERYONE makes mistakes, even the most accomplished speakers. In fact, the most interesting speakers are the ones who make lots of mistakes but you don’t realise or you just don’t care. WHY? Because they don’t care!

These days, I try to make at least 3 masterful mistakes every time I speak. I have come to believe that mistake building is character building. It is the fastest way to show people who you truly are and build trust with an audience.

I will leave you with this thought....the ONLY reason people are afraid of making mistakes is because they have not yet learnt to trust themselves. Some people have a false belief that people will only like them if they are perfect. In fact, the opposite is true. People love you more if you are imperfect, unashamed and unapologetically you! So the next time you are public speaking, let loose a little and be ok with whatever happens in the moment.


Yellow Lantern has a strong emphasis on masterful mistake building and relaxation skills. Do yourself a favour, before doing ANY public speaking training, check that the training company isn't just teaching basic tools and techniques of public speaking. Insure they are focussed on a whole person appraoch. This will save you from the perfection epidemic; a condition that will set you back years in your public speaking ability :mad:

If you want a free 50minute lesson plan on how to put these tips into practice click here


Categories: Public Speaking Tips

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Reply Kate
7:06 AM on July 7, 2014 
I tried this at work today and felt free whilst speaking for the first time in years! Thank you!
Reply Paul
5:31 PM on May 14, 2014 
.... Ummmm, I forgot what I was gunna write .... think I'll call Nat ... she'll know ... PS ... love it