How to cope with everything from tripping on the stairs to walking around with toilet paper on your shoe
Keep calm and carry on.
At a recent performance in Brazil by musical group Fifth Harmony, singer Normani Kordei, 21, tripped on-stage in a pair of high-heeled boots. But rather than making a scene, Kordei quickly stood up while flipping her hair like a rockstar — a move that generated big applause from the audience.
Kordei isn’t the only celebrity to take a tumble mid-performance — Jennifer Lopez, Pink, and Taylor Swift have fallen mid-song too and recover from it like the pros they are.
And celeb bloopers go beyond just tumbles: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actress Ellie Kemper appeared at last year’s Emmy’s with lipstick on her teeth, but rather than appearing mortified by the accident, charmed her fans with her response.
— Will Ganss (@willganss) September 18, 2016
Of course, not all stars can recover so quickly. At a Britney Spears performance in Las Vegas in 2015, the “Oops!… I Did it Again,” singer took a more pronounced fall on stage, and stayed down for a few moments, possibly in pain. “Thank you for all of the sweet wishes! Had a little scare on stage tonight with my ankle but I’m ok!” the star later tweeted.
While most of us aren’t being watched by thousands of people, we’ve still found ourselves in embarrassing situations like these — be it spilling coffee on the boss, walking into a glass door or tripping as we made our way out of a meeting. Here’s how to recover.
Own up to it: Connecticut etiquette expert Karen Thomas says the first thing to do after committing an embarrassing act is to “own up to it,” using humor if possible. Throw in an amusing line or admit to your own faults by saying something like, “Oh, clumsy me,” which can endear you to the victim of your faux pas. But do that quickly and move on: “You don’t want to dwell on it,” she says — as that can drag out the incident and make it more than it really is.
Apologize in a meaningful way: Executive coach and author Marc Dorio says that saying, “I’m sorry,” which is an often-overused mantra, doesn’t always convey the sense of responsibility you may feel for having erred. Instead, choose something like, “Please forgive me.” The benefit of this, Dorio argues, is that, “people love to forgive,” so this kind of wording appeals to their sense of doing the right thing.
But don’t over apologize: One of the worst things we do in making up for workplace mistakes is to apologize excessively, or get carried away, says Dorio. “If you goofed, you goofed,” Dorio says. There’s no sense in repeating yourself to convey extra remorse, or drawing unnecessary attention to the situation.
Lend a hand: If you’ve spilled coffee on someone or knocked them down by accident, lend a helping hand to clean up the mess or get up from the fall. “Putting actions above words is always appropriate when there’s an error or faux pas on your part. [If your assistance is] declined, then you certainly can back off and go about your business. There’s no sense in making more of it,” Thomas notes. That assistance can also include overtures like offering to pay for the other person’s dry-cleaning to erase the damage done — but if they reject the offer, you can move on with a clear conscience.
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