Defensiveness Doesn't = Confidence
When challenged on the merits, try to solve the problem, rather than defend the past. If you have to clarify a misconception so it doesn’t poison the well going forward, fine. But otherwise shift to how to make a future difference – the only thing you can possibly do at this stage.
We were at a world famous food and wine event in Asia some years ago. The red wine was far too cold, instead of being at European “room temperature” about 17 degrees Centigrade or 63 degrees Fahrenheit. When two guests complained, the Wine Director didn’t know they were professional sommeliers of considerable standing. He went into a “song and dance” about how he prefers wines at this temperature, how certain wines benefit…utter and complete horseradish. He lost face and credibility. I raised the same point, warming the glass with my palms, so a bouquet could actually be detected.
Mistakes happen… this was Asia, and wine storage has to be a bit more aggressive given the heat and humidity. Just admit it, and thereafter, bring it to the proper temperature…done! Instead, other “opinions” from this Wine Director will always be suspect to us, as we’ll wonder how much “spin” is being applied.
A confident person accepts the mistake, and gets busy fixing it. People remember our recovery actions and respect them, rather than our rationalizations.