Do you get a second chance to make a first impression?
It is a well worn piece of received wisdom that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Maybe so but we do get the chance to make subsequent impressions.
How does this apply to public speaking? One of the main fears I have heard from students is that they somehow mess up their presentation and lose the audience. It is possible that you forget your words, the computer doesn't work or even that you trip as you get on to the platform (I have done all three, although not in the same evening thankfully!) What do you do? How do you redeem yourself?
Easy; audiences cringe when a speaker struggles but a speaker who can pick himself up and carry on is a speaker to be admired.
Forgot your words? Pause.. look at your notes.. pick up again.
Computer doesn't work? Explain the situation to the audience, use the notes you had the foresight to print out earlier and speak directly to listeners rather than hiding behind technology.
Tripped as you got onto the stage? Blame your high heels, smile, take a deep breath and begin.
Remember: once your have made a mistake, pause, collect yourself and take your chance to replace the bad impressions with good.