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Ever flub a speech? Please share!

Here I am with Diana Gabaldon! She is a Latina author too and has sold more than 17 million copies of her books, can you imagine?

Last Friday I had an event that I had been looking forward to for months. I was invited to be on an author panel for the Scottsdale Public Library’s annual fundraiser.

Wouldn’t you know, our car was on the fritz. My mother-in-law lent me her Kia, but Mapquest failed me and I got lost. I did arrive right on time – in the parking garage. I had to hoof it up three flights of stairs. As I entered the library all sweaty and out of breath, a young man rushed me to the front of the room at the main stage – and sat me next to Diana Gabaldon!

My heart raced, I’m a huge fan. Next, I noticed cocktail attire. I had been so busy with my crafty work projects, I didn’t think to dress up. I’m talking jeans and frizzy hair.

The mayor of Scottsdale stood up and made an empowering speech. All the attendees were there to show Scottsdale pride and support their majestic city. Next, the president of the organization made the introductions and requested that each of us to go up and tell a bit about our book.

When my turn came, I was still flustered. Sweaty palms. Stimulation overload! No excuse – I know, but it was what it was, ok? I walked up to the podium and exhaled. Cool. You see, something comes over me when it comes to public speaking. I turn into a different person. I’ve had more than a hundred speaking engagements over the years. No worries. Therefore, I channeled last week’s kick-butt signing in downtown Glendale. I felt empowered!

I scanned the crowd and smiled bright. “Thank you for having me, I’m very honored to be here! My new book is titled Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing and it takes place in downtown Glendale!” I chirped.


“Power to the 623!” I cheered, as I pumped my chubby fist high in the air, like a Chicana activist or something. Where that came from, I HAVE NO IDEA! I haven’t pumped my fist in the air like that since high school when I saw Heart in concert.

Silence… and funny looks. Gulp.

“Aw, crap.” I said in my head. 623 is the area code for Glendale.  I was at a Scottsdale fundraiser. I knew that. It’s like the equivalent of a band yelling out “Yay, Vegas!” in Phoenix. I had to think fast before I got booed off the stage by fancy folks in high heels and business suits….

What did I do as a remedy?

I pumped my fist in the air a second time and shouted “AND… power to the four-eight-oooooh!” (Scottsdale’s area code)

A couple people seemed to nod with approval, a few giggled, making me feel a bit relieved. But then I worried about Phoenix peeps in the crowd – I’m a middle child who aims to please – I didn’t want them to feel left out.

So I, um, pumped my fist for a third time and shouted “AND power to the 602, too!”

*shakes head* Oh. My. Gah. Can you say embarrassed times infinity?

I moved on to the plot of my book, and the rest of the speech flowed smoothly. I signed a lot of books and met so many fabulous peeps, like Diana Gabaldon, Dr. Connie Mariano, Donis Casey, Marcia Fine and Rico Austin.

Despite my goofy moment on the mic, everyone made me feel welcome, beautiful, accepted and happy. I really appreciated that – especially considering that later in the evening I discovered a huge green paint smear on that same fist I pumped in the air three times!

UPDATE: I guess I didn’t do too bad, I got hired for three more speaking events off of this one!

OK, have you ever had a speech fail? Please share in the comments! I’ll choose one name to win a set of my two novels!


Reading Glasses and Watermarking Images

Current, random works-in-progress!


6 thoughts on “Ever flub a speech? Please share!”

  1. once for school i lost my paper that had all my notes and my mind went blank. i wanted to cry and run home but somehow i got thru it. i already bought your books but want to give these as a gift to a friend!

  2. I loved the ‘fist pump like a Chicana activist.’ I’ve never had a speech fail since I haven’t had an opportunity to make speeches. But your experience and how you got through it gives me courage to keep at it in case I ever am called upon to do a presentation and I’ll be sure to check my hand before I raise it.

  3. I was Pres of the Social Work Club at college and our club had voted to change the name of the Social Work Club annual award to the name of one of the teachers. This was a surprise, to be announced at commencement. I was to give the speech since I was Pres. I was scared big time since I had never given a speech. At the practice, we were told to enter the stage by walking up temporary steps, that had no hand rail, and were warned to be careful since a person last year had fallen off the steps. So this REALLY made me nervous. When I successfully got to the podium, the mic was too low, since I am tall, and it had gotten bumped and was aimed away from me. I had no experience with mics and was scared and nervous, so at first I tried bending over and twisting so I could talk into the mic, and then I just stood up straight and tried to talk loud, which didn’t work at all. I was SO RELIEVED to get off the stage but so sad that I had flubbed such an important speech, honoring a woman who had been a great teacher.

  4. I tend to forget the names of people I have known for YEARS or other very basic details. Once I was giving a speech about some of the work I do for the animal shelter which includes bringing animals to visit senior residents in assisted living. All of a sudden I could not think of the words “assisted living” “senior community” or even “nursing home” all I could think was “old-folks home” which I could NOT say so I stammered and felt stupid until something coherent tumbled out.

  5. I had so many fails. I act and I’ve had some major bungled auditions, but you know what? I’ve booked some of those gigs. I think sometimes people remember how you recovered from a fail and moved on, more than the actual fail. It’s like they get a glimpse into your unguarded self and if you are able to recover then they celebrate that.

    Thanks for sharing this. It gave me a good chuckle.


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