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Presentation Skills: What to Do About Misspeaking?

Presentation Skills: What to Do About Misspeaking?


Mistakes happen all the time.  You mean to say one thing, but a glitch of the tongue brings something else out of your mouth.

  • While campaigning for the presidency,  Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis referred to “modern musicians” instead of “modern munitions.”
  • Jimmy Carter once referred to himself as a “former president” – while still in office.

Misspeaking happens a lot– even to the best speakers.  If you make a mistake, correct yourself simply and calmly. Use a brief neutral statement, such as:

  • “I should clarify that.”
  • “Let me try that one more time.”
  • “What I really meant to say was…”
  • “Maybe I should put it another way.”
  • “Actually, the date is…”
  • “I need to fix that.  The correct number is…”

Keep your correction short and direct. Elaborate apologies just call more attention to your errors.

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Rerun Feb 26, 2014

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