Reality Blog: How to Handle Public Failure with Grace


I delayed writing the bones of this article by a couple of days because I was hoping to be able to bring you a tips-and-tricks article on how to create and (successfully) pull off a livestream interview on a Facebook page.

On my Money-Making Website we had a video scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

I had grand visions of not only successfully pulling off my first live webinar for the site, but also gaining a few insights into how to handle the difficulties of a live video event.

I did get valuable insights… on the subject of failure.

Failing Publicly

The short story is that the live video didn’t work at all. Nothing worked the way I thought it should. And I did my research ahead of time. The way I’d seen it shown… it didn’t pan out.

  • I couldn’t find obvious management buttons (Start, Stop).
  • I couldn’t answer comments.
  • I couldn’t connect two accounts.
  • I couldn’t let the other co-host in.

Worse, as a good marketer, I’d actually ginned up some interest via my newsletter and had a few people watching while everything basically made a big raspberry.

When and How to Give Up

Generally, I’m not a person who gives up on anything easily. I’m sure you can sympathize, since a combination of personal stubbornness, professional pride, and a commitment to excellence are all traits that help make us great copywriters.

That being said, there’s a time and place for giving up on an idea, even a good one.

In my case, once I realized that the livestream didn’t look anything like what I’d come to expect, I spent about 15 minutes going back and forth, trying different things, pushing buttons, and attempting to make it work.

Tiny Success: I did manage to start the stream, briefly, almost by accident, and I did manage to answer comments, finally, but that was the end of the good news.

Since we were completely unable to allow our interviewee to join the video stream, we used our initial introduction to buy some time while I pushed buttons. I also explained that we were having technical difficulties and I was trying to fix them.

However, after those 15 minutes, I decided that I was only wasting the time of the people who’d come on.

Apologize and Explain

At that point I figured the only thing to do was repeat what I’d said from the beginning. This was our first-ever Facebook livestream. We’d expected a few hiccups, but nothing this crazy. I said sorry on the video, ended it, and tried to start another one. When that didn’t work either, I posted another explanation/apology.

And I promised to return and cover the topic in another way.

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Suzanna Fitzgerald

Suzanna Fitzgerald

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