Blunders and Mishaps Shape a Speaker

lucyWould 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!


Motivational Speaker Polly Pitchford didn’t always know the phytochemical benefits of kale, in fact, those words weren’t even in her vocabulary 30 years ago. Neither did she see any reason to do jumping jacks on a cement surface for an hour. But all it took was a chance vegetarian cooking class and some high-energy music to open her eyes upon a whole new world of healthy living. For 30 years Polly has practiced, studied, taught, educated and lived a healthy lifestyle that makes her such a powerful speaker.

Polly’s down-to-Earth and humorous approach mirrors her own lifelong journey to lasting, positive changes. The audience walks away with tangible plans for improving their health and their lives through food, fitness and fun.
To book Motivational Speaker Polly Pitchford, call 941-685-7725 or visit her at

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  1. Your responses to crazy stuff that happens are priceless!  And, just when you think you've had your fill of things going not as expected, another thing happens!  Sounds like you'll be able to handle it just fine.  Can't wait to see you do your cooking show or see you speak – you are hilarious!

  2. Oh Polly, I'm dying here. And no, you certainly are not the ONLY funny motivational speaker to do really FUNNY things on stage by having things go wrong, but your examples are fabulous! I LOVE the picture of big old honker scissors falling out of the cereal box – and you proclaiming, "And there's a prize in every box!"  Yes, in the middle of presentations I have had computer screens go totally GREEN or totally BLUE with lots of crazy writing on them. I've had no lights, no sound. Heck, once I even had no people. Okay well, I had ONE person. There was a really bad snow storm in Washington DC and one brave woman showed up. Well, the show must go on – so I talked to one person. Crazy!!! Thanks for reminding me that stuff happens and we can actually have fun with it – AND learn a lot in the process!

  3. Oh my gosh – this is hysterical. My favorite line is you made up like Tammy Faye Baker while doing a natural cooking show!!!! Rolling on the floor over here. Thank you for making me laugh,and for showing me that mistakes are all part of success!!!! :0)

  4. Too funny. The scissors comment cut me up! The Tammy Faye Baker visual priceless! I almost hope you goof up as I can't wait to see how you quickly save yourself with your quick wit!

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