The 10 scariest public speaking moments

Halloween made the author think about being scared, and that made him think, logically enough, about the terrifying accidents that turn a speech into a ‘Nightmare on Elm Street.’

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It’s Halloween, and it’s a big deal. I read that it’s a bigger holiday than Christmas for retailers. Can that be?

I got to thinking about the scariest moments public speakers endure, naturally enough, and compiled this top 10 list, compiled from my own disasters and those of my clients. Let me know what your scariest speaking moment was, and I’ll give a prize to the scariest one, decided by me, based on how many of my hackles rose.

10. You realize that you forgot a key piece of your argument 10 minutes ago. You’re in the middle of your speech. It’s too late to go back, and the audience is going to be confused by your next leap of logic. You have to interject the forgotten bit, but it’s going to make you look disorganized. Scary!

9. Someone asks a question you can’t understand. I was talking to a multi-cultural audience, and a very nice man asked in heavily accented English an esoteric question. I just couldn’t get it. I asked him to repeat the question twice, but after that, I had to make a guess, because it would have been awkward. Painful!

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