When You Make a Mistake

What is the best way to respond when you or someone else makes a mistake?  Martha Stewart was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on May 14.  She accidently referred to Jay as Dave, a reference to his time-slot competitor David Letterman. 

 Two ways to deal with a mis-statement are:

  1.  Acknowledge your mistake.  Martha immediately caught her mistake and corrected it.

  2.  Use humor.  Jay Leno and Wanda Sykes were standing by to defuse the mistake with humor. 

 Jay said, “Many women call out the wrong name.  I’ve had that happen.”  And Wanda said, “She called me Oprah.” 

 Using humor as a response to a mistake is a good way to acknowledge the mistake and set it aside.  When you can laugh at the mistake, it’s like saying: OK, so we made a mistake…we can laugh at it and it’s no big deal.  Once it is acknowledged it’s easier to consider it a non issue and you can press on with what you were really talking about.  If you can’t think of a witty comment, don’t force the humor.  Just point out the mistake, own it, take responsibility, and let it go.