One of the most important pieces of advice I received as a member of Toastmasters International is to never apologize for how you’re feeling or let on how uncomfortable, awkward, afraid, anxious or unprepared you are. If you don’t say anything it’s very likely they won’t even be aware of it.
If you do say something, it gives them something else to focus on other than your performance. They’ll be thinking about what you did wrong or perhaps will be feeling sorry for you – and you don’t want this! You want their full attention on you and your message.
Anna Christine, who is just 11 years old, had an incredible performance on America’s Got Talent 2013 semi finals, singing “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” She received a standing ovation but as soon as she finished, she had this really uncomfortable look on her face and said “I got off time…I couldn’t hear the track that well.”
Although this is a singing performance and she apologized AFTER her performance, this is a great example of what NOT to do.
You can watch her performance and apology here
Howard Stern even said to her: “Anna, this is the world of show business. I would recommend that you don’t walk out and tell people you made a mistake. It isn’t apparent to everyone. You are remarkable, remarkable, remarkable! You’re a rare talent.”
Lisa Braithwaite, Public speaking coach & trainer, says: “You are ten times more sensitive to your own insecurities, and the audience likely has no clue that you feel uncomfortable – for whatever reason.”
Fortunately Anna’s beautiful voice and raw talent was enough and she was voted through to the next round. She is one of my favorites and I’m thrilled!