The Mistake in Public Speaking I Remember the Most

I share with you this classic mistake I once made in my speech which I remember the most. The occasion was a sermon I delivered in my Church.

It was a few weeks after the Tsunami had struck South East Asia in December 2004. So I started off talking about it. In the third sentence of my sermon I said, ” A few days later the . . .”

At that point my mind went blank. I was standing in the pulpit. It was a raised platform. Around three to four hundred people were looking intently at me. I had no sermon notes with me. I simply had to go on.

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I knew I had to say a word starting with the letter M. But it was not coming to mind. So I substituted with another word starting with the letter M. And this is what I said:

“A few days later the magnanimity of the tragedy struck us.”

The moment I said that in my mind’s eye I could see blue and red lights flashing and hear alarm bells ringing. But I couldn’t stop to analyze. I had to go on.

The sermon went ahead well with a few more mistakes but not as classic as the one I just mentioned. Truly “magnanimity” was a disaster.

The magnitude (which was the word I should have said) of my mistake is clear because magnanimity means generosity!

Truly a classic mistake.

But the point is that it did not stop my journey as a public speaker. I continue to speak even now.

So also can you. There is no need to fear mistakes. It can come to anyone; to the best of men and women on the best of their days.

Therefore you need not fear mistakes. Let them come.

Often there is nothing much I can do to correct the mistakes made in speech as with the case of “magnanimity” of the tragedy.

So I understand that it simply shows me as a human being capable of making mistakes, maybe time and again.

But beyond that I see that I can trust him who hung on a cross and bled for me to integrate my life’s failures and mistakes into what he is shaping and moulding me to be.

So be encouraged today to speak. Mistakes need not prevent you from achieving the best that God has kept in store for you.

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