May 062013 3 Responses

My Worst Public Speaking Blunder (or When I Said There’s no Semen in Heaven)

The only way not to make a mistake is to do nothing, but that would be a mistake.

Yesterday I was preaching and I couldn’t make up my mind between saying “brains” or “best.” When I combined them both, I ended up saying, “we’ve got to get our breasts together.”

Whenever a mistake that like happens, a public speaker has two choices: push forward in hopes no one heard or admit what was said. I wasn’t sure how many people heard it so I pushed forward.

This mistake is far better than what I’ve done in the past. When my wife was 9 months pregnant I was preaching out of the book of Revelation. The text speaks about heaven where the trees bear their fruit every season. The picture is that in heaven there is no winter. Everything is always blooming and coming to life. I was trying to make a big crescendo of a point by saying in a loud voice, “and so in heaven their will be no seasons.” My only problem, I said, “and so in heaven there will be no SEMEN.”

That’s not the type of mistake you can push through. I tried, but my blushing face gave way the fact that I knew what I had said. The roar in the room revealed that the crowd knew what I had said. In 18 years of public speaking, I don’t feel like I’ve ever lost control of a crowd, but it was gone on that day.

The good news is that 45 women got saved that day. They had never heard heaven described so beautifully.

As bad as my experience was, it wasn’t as bad as this guys: (if reading via email, Click Here)

Part of being a public speaker is the knowledge that you will misspeak. There is no way to avoid it. If you speak enough words over a long enough period of time, you will make mistakes.

The only option a speaker has is to know it will happen and embrace it when it takes place.

But isn’t this the case with every job?

No matter what a person does, their actions ensure that mistakes will take place.

  • A public speaker will misspeak
  • A singer will miss a note
  • A doctor will have a case go wrong
  • A comedian will have a set bomb

Taking action ensures that we will make mistakes.

A leader understands this and is willing to act anyway. Others are paralyzed by the fear of what might go wrong.

Those paralyzed by the fear might find satisfaction in never making mistakes, but they have little else to show for it.

  • So you might never be rejected, but you also will have never had a date.
  • So you might never have a bad review, but you also will have never published a book.
  • So you might never have someone disagree with you, but you also will have never challenged someone’s thinking.

Mistakes happen. Leaders aren’t scared by the potential of mistakes. They are terrified by the thought of inaction.

We can overcome mistakes; we can’t overcome apathy.

What fear is paralyzing you?

What’s the worst that can happen?

Would it really be that bad?


3 Responses to My Worst Public Speaking Blunder (or When I Said There’s no Semen in Heaven)
  1. […] The only problem was that he underestimated the depth of the man-made grave, raised up too quickly, ...

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