Have you ever heard of Kombucha? I’m still not sure what it is enough to really explain it to you, but from what I can gather: it’s an ancient, Chinese elixer made from combining tea, sugar and some sort of bacterial ‘being’ that actually turns this ingredient combo into ‘Kombucha’. It’s very popular right now. Let’s put it this way: it’s going to be the Snapple of the 2010′s.
After hearing about it from some admitted addicts, I decided I would try it. I walked out of the store, pulled my freshly purchased bottle out of the bag, and like any red-blooded juice drinker, I gave it a hearty shake. Then, I opened it. And right there on the corner of 5th and Whoops—the Kombucha proceeded to explode all over my bad self.
Apparently, it’s fermented and under enormous amounts of pressure. And should not, ever, be shaken. (Would be ultra-cool if they said that on the bottle cap.)
Enter that universal phenomenon of having an awkward moment in public.
We’ve got two possibilities. The first is what I call: Dig In. This choice let’s you feel the embarassment and humiliation at its deepest level. It includes slinking away, pretending it didn’t happen (who are you kidding) and (often) making it worse. The second is what I call: Dig out and it involves reacting in such a way that you actually erase the bad impression from your onlookers’ minds—and sometimes, when you do it really well—rise up and make them like you even more.
Like so many industries where the focus is on public delivery, the meeting world is ripe to overflowing with opportunities for ‘getting Kombucha all over yourself in a ballroom full of people you are trying to impress’. Not to tempt fate, but:
- A speaker could trip walking on stage
- The audience doesn’t clap or laugh at the right time
- The venue loses power
- Speakers forget their content
- I’ve even seen someone take a sip of water on stage and spill it all over their shirt
The trick is in your reaction. How can you dig out and make it through this moment with a positive spin?
- The cure for any awkward moment is humor…and wit. So if it comes to you naturally, this is a great time to make a joke about the situation. I’d even have a few jokes handy, just in case.
- Forgive the nod to deoderant ads everywhere, but, “never let them see you sweat” actually has some merit. If the person on stage has what could be an awkward moment but stays completely calm and nonplussed, then the audience will follow suit.
- Prepare. Clearly, once a boy scout, always a boy scout: this is the most critical step to take. To some degree, if you’re prepared to handle an awkward moment, it doesn’t really matter what the actual awkwardness is. During rehearsal times is a great opportunity to go through awkward recoups with the entire team.
There you go: proof that you don’t have to let anything explode in your face…no matter how hard you shake it.