Humorize Your Embarrassment and Make a Good Impression

We all have situations where we want to make a good impression, like when we are on the job, in front of our peers or meeting someone special for the first time. But things don’t always go the way we had hoped. Just because we started off on the wrong foot, doesn’t mean we can’t land brilliantly on the right one.

Here’s an example: While learning to use a new e-mail program, I experienced a dreadfully embarrassing moment while responding to a speaker job. I had misspelled the word concentration. Spellchecker asked, “Is the correct spelling – constipation?” I meant to click no. But I clicked yes. Before I could retrieve it, poof, my message was sent!

I immediately followed-up with a second message. “Spellchecker is not my friend. I would like to clarify my request for a quiet room previous to speaking at your event. Noise affects my concentration. I won’t need the prune juice”. I received a short response, “You’re hired. Will contact you with details later this week.”

People remember how well someone handled a tense or embarrassing moment long after they forgot what was said or done to cause it. Humor used correctly releases your tension and relaxes the response from those who witness your goof. When you openly recognize your mistake or blunder and acknowledge that you are not perfect, you show that you’re human and demonstrate self-confidence.

People respect and trust someone who quickly recovers from unexpected circumstances without getting rattled. Instead of making excuses or apologizing for your shortcomings, embrace them. You can turn your embarrassment into a lasting impression that works to your advantage with something as simple as a one-word response like, “oops,” followed by a sigh or a smile, and then swiftly return to the business at hand.

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