Planning for mistakes

Have you heard the quote from from ‘The Scottish Shakespeare’, Robert Burns?

‘The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley.’

In short…we can plan well and still things go wrong!

I coach all of my speakers to think this way, not because I’m pessimistic, but because the nature of live events means that there are lots of different variables. Humans! Technology! 

It is useful to consider in advance:

How do I want to think about mistakes? Or things that don’t go as planned?

That way you can decide, with a cool head, and mentally rehearse how you will show up when things go ‘wrong’. 

I recently went through this process with a speaker, and it was not a question that he had previously considered. As it happened – despite planning, rehearsal, and tech checks – his co-hosts Wi-Fi went down 10 minutes into the event. The speaker had to carry the next 40 minutes by himself.

He did a great job. He didn’t panic, or tip into stressed defensiveness. He continued to show up in a relaxed way, focusing on the audience and how he could help them.

The difference between ‘This shouldn’t be happening!’ and ‘No problem, I’ll make it work.’ is enormous. But it is much easier to wrap our brains around this when we practice it in advance. 

That’s my challenge to you.