If you have been paying attention to recent pop culture news feeds lately, you may have heard of the phenomenon known as, “The Michael Bay Meltdown.”
During a Samsung CES press event that introduced their new 150-inch model television, the famed director was supposed to describe the product in detail. He started out great. When the teleprompter failed, however, he decided to just give up and casually walk off stage. If you haven’t had a chance to see the viral video, you can check it out here.
The fear of speaking in front of many people is a fear that most of us share. Whether it’s in front of an audience of one or a few hundred, public speaking can be intensely nerve-wracking. It causes any normal human being to experience moments of sheer panic. The best ways to learn from your presentation mistakes are to actually make them and adhere to these changes later down the road.
Though Michael Bay blamed the teleprompter failing for his public speaking woes, being the presentation specialists that we are, there are various lessons to take away from his blunder that could have, and will happen, to any presenter at any time.
1. Don’t Memorize a Script
Memorizing a script isn’t always good when it comes to public speaking. Talking points are far different than following an actual script or prompt, and focusing on memorizing your verbiage will allow for more opportunities to slip up and freeze. Though you should always be prepared with a script, don’t focus on remembering your content word for word.
Try to focus on describing and elaborating your information with your slides. If you slip up or get lost, your slides are there to highlight your talking points and act as an outline — which is crafted in your storyboard. Improvisation is always a great alternative if you slip up!
The mistake that Michael Bay made was that he was so focused on doing a word for word delivery. Unfortunately, it only caused him to freeze up. If he had just improvised his speech, this would’ve helped him get past the situation.
2. Being Honest Will Help You in The Long Run
Everyone is bound to slip up and make mistakes, especially with public speaking. Apologizing to your audience and throwing in some laughter will show how honest and sincere you are – and this is key to being a credible presenter.
If you can’t remember what to say, or mess up your words, just laugh it off to ease the situation then apologize and move forward. Chances are your audience wouldn’t have even noticed! If you get frustrated, just take a deep breath and continue to speak. Just giving up and walking off stage like Michael Bay did shows a lack of maturity and preparation.
3. Own Up to Your Mistakes
Michael Bay made a monumental mistake by announcing to his audience that the teleprompter failed. Never let your audience become aware of your faults. This not only takes away your credibility but shows them that you are not responsible enough to fix the errors yourself.
If technical difficulties occur with the PowerPoint presentation, a public speaking professional will step up and engage with the audience until the problem is solved.
All in all, there is no way you can prevent a presentation or a public speaking disaster from happening. Things will go wrong, you’ll get nervous and forget your words sometimes. But giving up entirely is never the proper, or professional, solution.
“Watch: Director Michael Bay’s CES Fail.” Bloomberg.com. Accessed January 13, 2014.