Even if you’ve prepared, practiced, and thought of every possible scenario, things can still go wrong during a presentation. Maybe your mic didn’t work, or your slides wouldn’t advance, or maybe you just didn’t connect with your audience. It’s normal to get disappointed if you think that your presentation didn’t go well, but what should you do about it?

Bad presentations happen to good speakers, and it can be frustrating and disheartening, but don’t let it get you down! Here are eight ways to recover from a disappointing presentation:

1. Put It In Perspective

The first thing to do is to put the disappointing presentation in perspective. It’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t define you as a speaker. When you’re feeling disappointed after a presentation, it’s easy to let it consume you and make you feel like a failure. However, it’s essential to put it in perspective. Remember that one presentation does not define you, and there will be other opportunities to improve and shine. Take a step back and objectively evaluate what happened, and do not let it prevent you from future accomplishments.

2. Reflect On Possible Factors Beyond Your Control

Sometimes, things just happen. Technical equipment malfunctions or an emergency occurs in the audience distracting half of them. Reflect back on the presentation and pinpoint any possible external factors that may have had an impact. Did your audience just have a really long lunch break? Was there a delayed onset of technical difficulties that ate up time? Acknowledging these factors can help you separate what was in your control and what was not. Learn from what you can control and formulate a better plan for future presentations. Sometimes, external factors can derail even the best-prepared presentations, so it’s important not to beat yourself up over things that were out of your hands.

3. Analyze What Went Wrong

That being said, it’s important to analyze what went wrong in your presentation. Maybe it was the content, delivery, or language. Whatever it was, acknowledge it and determine what would have been more effective. Evaluating what went wrong is the fastest way to uncover mistakes to improve later: what you did may have been great, but there is always room for improvement.

4. Analyze What Went Right

It’s good to focus on what went wrong, but don’t forget to assess the positive aspects of your presentation. Was there a moment where you were on point? Did you receive a good response from the audience at any time? Analyzing what went right to replicate it in future presentations.

After analyzing what went wrong and what went right, it’s time to mentally compile everything to evaluate what would be the best course of action to help you improve. Try to narrow down one aspect of your presentation that will improve your future endeavors significantly.

5. Create A Plan For Next Time

Once you have pinpointed the area of your presentation that can be improved, create an action plan to tackle it. Determine what needs to change and what resources you will need to make the necessary adjustments, then make a plan to take care of these things before your next presentation. Remember, preparation is key, so include practice and rehearsing in your plan.

6. Seek Feedback and Focus On The Future

Failing once in a while is almost guaranteed in public speaking. Instead of allowing ourselves to get bogged down, let’s use this as an opportunity to learn and grow. Thus, another important step in recovering from a disappointing presentation is to seek feedback from others. This can be an uncomfortable process, as it means inviting criticism and acknowledging mistakes. However, feedback can provide valuable insights and perspectives that we may otherwise miss. I try to seek feedback from a variety of sources, including trusted colleagues, mentors, and even the audience themselves. By listening to feedback, I can incorporate new strategies and techniques into my future performances.
When preparing for another presentation, put all the effort you have into making it as successful as possible and learn key lessons from the last disappointing event. When focusing on the future, it’s important to remember that it’s in your hands to mold your successes or failures.

7. Don’t Be Over-Critical, Believe in Yourself

Although you may not be able to stop yourself from criticizing a failed presentation, remember to be kind to yourself. It’s important to maintain a positive attitude during this time and remind yourself that, over time, your skills and techniques will improve.

9. Practice, Practice, Practice

Lastly, recovering from a disappointing presentation means committing to practice and preparation. Practice out loud your entire speech. And when you’re not practicing your speech out loud, spend some time visualizing the flow of your talk and use positive mindset techniques to affirm yourself. By practicing regularly, you will build confidence and continue to improve your performance over time. Additionally, use visualization techniques. They will help you overcome self-doubt or fear of failure that may hold you back. Visualize yourself giving a successful presentation and create some positive affirmations that reinforce your vision. Furthermore, you’ll develop a belief in yourself and that you are capable of delivering a great speech.

Refer to this blog on how to practice (I have a unique approach that will help you deliver masterful presentations):

How to Rehearse and Practice to Stand Out as a Master Speaker

Public speaking can feel overwhelming, but with the right attitude and the right type of practice, you can shine on stage. When you feel like you’ve presented poorly, don’t let it break you; instead, take it as an opportunity to reassess your methodology and implement a more effective approach. Return to these eight steps to guide you whenever you feel yourself reeling from a disappointing presentation. Remember, though – every mistake is an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Great Speakers Are Trained Speakers

If you are a continuous learner and want to improve your public speaking, my Passionately Speaking community and training programs are a great place to start. Let’s talk a find out what training is best for you: https://calendly.com/arveerobinson/30min