Easily Overcome Mistakes with Meta Comments
May 2016

Easily Overcome Mistakes with Meta Comments

Everyone makes mistakes. Even perfect Mary Lou from 10th grade who always achieved straight As and dated all the popular guys.  She made mistakes too. It’s how you handle the mistake that makes all the difference. If you aim for perfection, you’re going to have a hard time.

There will be plenty of times where you made a blatant error and wish to recover or move on from it. Meta comments are inherently effective at recovering from an awkward situation. Verbal mistakes are like snowballs – if you act like they bother you, they grow worse. Meta comments are your best bet for quickly deflecting any potential negative barbs, adding some levity, and moving the conversation forward.

“That probably didn’t sound right did it? Let me go back for a minute.”

“I was cycling through every smart thought I had – but nothing came out except for that! Where were we…”

“What just came out of my mouth? Did I really just say that? What’s wrong with me today? Anyway…”

Even if the mistake was not awkward at all, highlighting it with a meta comment adds potential levity or humor to the situation. If you admit the mistake first, you can sometimes take advantage of it and spin the awkward straw into humor gold.

“That was a horrible analogy! Can I take that back, I don’t know how that happened, it just kind of slipped. Strike it from the record please.”

“Sorry I was just thinking out loud. I know. It didn’t make much sense, did it? I need more coffee!”

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