Would you really like to know why I’m a funny motivational speaker on food and fitness? I am just now fully realizing why myself. After a dear friend and I reminisced about the many years of teaching group fitness classes, I started jotting down all the mishaps and embarrassing moments of the last 30 years of being in front of a camera for my cooking shows and being on stage for my exercise classes. I was chuckling and shaking my head the whole way down memory lane!
If you want to get really good at presenting in front of an audience then you’re going to have to just get out there and do it A LOT, practice A LOT and learn how to roll with the punches (mistakes, hurdles, unexpected surprises) that are inevitably going to happen.
Here’s a list of some of my more embarrassing cooking show “learning” moments:
- Pouring high fiber breakfast cereal into a bowl and having a heavy pair of scissors slide out of the box and crash into the bowl. (Yes, I had forgotten I had stored them in there for the schlepping of equipment and food, and yes, the camera was rolling.) My response: “And there’s a prize in every box!”
- Trying to cut a corncob in half. Rooky mistake. This is like cutting through an I-beam! I did it while trying to hide the massively huge effort it took. I think the bulging vein in the center of my forehead gave me away though.
- Squeezing the skin off of a boiled beet as it shoots out of my hands and onto the studio floor. Cut for commercial. When we come back the camera followed the beet trail from where it sat on the floor to me: “I’m so embarrassed! Am I beet red?”
- Talking over the roar of a blender. Don’t’ do it. It’s a shouting match and the blender always wins.
- Trusting someone else to do my makeup (think Tammy Faye Baker doing a natural foods cooking show).
- Blenders not blending, food processors not processing, skillets not heating, signage falling off walls, forgetting an ingredient, not finishing in time…Aarrrggghhh!
What feels like impossible predicaments at the time turn out to be excellent lessons in thinking quickly on your feet. The audience connects with you because you’ve revealed a “flaw” and been able to handle it gracefully. I’ve learned that maintaining a sense of humor and using these mishaps in a self-depreciating, comical way works every time. I’m grateful for these experiences that have shaped me as a speaker today but I do so hope they don’t keep happening. I’d like to think I’ve learned enough of this lesson!