Learning From Your Mistakes Will Make You a Better Presenter

Giving a dynamic presentation is no small task and for most of us, there is always room for improvement. If you give a less than perfect presentation, don’t beat yourself up. Use it as a learning opportunity to improve your future presentation skills. Failure is a critical step in the path to success and those who are accomplished speakers know how to learn from their mistakes. The ability to understand and overcome your mistakes will make you a better presenter in the long run. Here are a few steps you can take to learn from your mistakes.

Recognize the Mistake

 The first, and most crucial step, is recognizing when you have made a mistake. Oftentimes, we tend to blame our mistakes on surrounding circumstances rather than admitting that we messed up. While it’s true that circumstances can and do affect outcomes, it’s important to learn to take responsibility for our mistakes. The first step in making real changes is accepting full responsibility for our role in the outcome. Here are a few ways you can determine your specific mistakes:

Ask for feedback through surveys.

Encourage audience members to fill out feedback/comment forms.

Record your presentation and self-correct.

Ask a friend or colleague for honest feedback.  

Reflect on What Went Wrong

While it’s not a good idea to dwell on your mistakes, reflecting on them can be productive. Jot down a few notes about your presentation and ask yourself some tough questions:

What went wrong?

What could I do differently next time?

What have I learned from these mistakes?

Once you reflect on these answers, come up with a plan for improvement. At this point, it’s time to let go of your mistakes and focus only on how you are going to move forward. 

Make a Plan

Beating yourself up for past mistakes isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s important to place your focus on how you can improve. Make a plan to help you avoid these same mistakes in the future. Determine what you did wrong and try a new approach. Research some ideas on how you can correct your mistakes and ask for help from colleagues and friends. This information can help you create a plan of action. Once you do, hold yourself accountable and track your progress as you work to improve your next presentation.


The most successful presenters didn’t start out that way.. They made plenty of mistakes along the way before they reached success. Success isn’t about not making mistakes. It’s about turning those mistakes into learning opportunities that will help you in your future endeavors. Mistakes should motivate you to keep moving forward and learning as you go.