Every speech has the potential for disaster; you lose your train of thought, get distracted or (God forbid) fall off the platform.
Last week during my annual Cantonese speech opening the Helping Hand Cookie Day, I managed to commit the first two sins but not, fortunately, the third.
What do you do when you are standing on a stage in front of an audience and all goes wrong?
Option one is to turn and run off the stage with the result that, for the rest of your days, you will remember the moment and cringe.
Option two is to make the best of it, catch your breath, aplogise to the audience and carry on. This is the option I chose. Of course I was mortified but I did manage to pick up, apologised for my rotten pronounciation and rounded off my speech with a small shred of dignity intact. Later, I spoke to someone who had been in my audience and hadn't realised that anything had gone wrong.
In an ideal world, every speech would be perfect. In the world we live in, this may not be the case. The moral is that you will be a harsher judge of your own performance than your audience and it is possible to come back from the brink of disaster. With regard to not falling off the platform, all I can recommend is to pick your feet up, count the stairs and hope for the best!
For more information about Helping Hand (and to donate if you are feeling generous!)