This is one of my favorite principles, in business and in life. While it is incredibly important to apologize if you have done someone wrong, you should never apologize for yourself.
“Do not apologize for who you are.”
This is an especially useful principle when we are presenting or speaking in front of others. If you stumble over a word, make an error, forget what you hoped to say next, do not apologize! Simply put, there is nothing to apologize for (but once you issue the apology, there may as well be).
Instead, continue your presentation without hesitation, as if the mistake was not made. Or, if the situation calls for it (the mistake was obvious and the audience is waiting on you to explain in some way) make it lighthearted (“I think I just said X when I meant to say Y – wow, that was random/strange/a new one . . . !”). Or talk it through with your audience (“you know, I was going to say something particular here and it has completely slipped my mind – we’ll move on and I’ll come back to it if I can remember . . . .”).
These are very human ways of dealing with an imperfection in your presentation, without making yourself small or leaving your audience with the sense that you are self conscious or lack confidence or conviction.
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