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Slip Toss Tip

By Patti A. Wood, M.A.

Years ago, I was standing on stage speaking to 500 engineers. I had just said, "Our non-verbal  communication is more accurate and honest than our words," when my half-slip fell to the floor. I quickly picked it up, smiled at the audience and said, "A Freudian slip!" The audience roared. I tossed the slip behind the podium, my hand shaking, and continued my speech. Was this a disaster or an opportunity? Well, the audience could see through my skirt for the rest of my speech.

But I felt, in that moment of reality (and abject humiliation), that I connected with the audience in a very special and memorable way. People who have been in public with spinach between their teeth or a price tag hanging out, identified with me. You need to remember in business that it is not the disaster that matters; it’s how you deal with it. The people you work with, your customers, your family, take their energetic cue from you. They will decide what they think about you and the event based on your reaction. When disasters can’t be avoided with safety pins and dental floss, smile and show grace under pressure.