Ms Obama apologised to the crowd for swearing, telling the audience she'd forgotten where she was at that moment.
"I'm back now", Obama said, smiling and looking a bit sheepish. "But I think it can happen sooner than we think".
One group of women read excerpts from "Lean In" and listened to portions of Sandberg's TED talks that focused on how women should be more confident in the office. It seems, however, that Obama was not particularly impressed by the book's message.
"In terms of women in leadership roles, we are not better off", she said, noting that women occupied less than 6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO jobs and their global equivalents, and the number of countries run by women had decreased.
Michelle Obama doesn't seem like a woman who ever forgets where she is - she doesn't really have the luxury. "But sometimes that stuff doesn't work".
Hearing Michelle Obama speak against the practicality of "having it all" is uniquely satisfying because she is a woman who seems to be the living embodiment of having it all.
United States agrees to suspend new China tariffs for 90 days
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 edged 1% higher while South Korea's Kospi gained 1.6% and Australia's ASX 200 closed 1.84% up. Mike Starkey offloads soybeans from his combine as he harvests his crops in Brownsburg, Indiana, Sept. 21, 2018.
Touring the country to promote her book "Becoming", the former first lady spoke in Brooklyn on Saturday night about her own life, which includes a heritage of American slavery, a degree from Harvard Law School, and assent to the position of a beloved and loathed global icon.
"And so then it's time to go to marriage counselling". "Finally", tweeted one person.
The former first lady appears to have been disagreeing with a feminist philosophy shared by Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg in her book, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead", which encourages women to be more ambitious.
Sandberg herself has acknowledged that despite plenty of leaning, the world hasn't made much progress toward equal representation of women since her book came out in 2013.
In a study this year, a group of Duke University psychology professors used 2,000 participants to test the "lean in" approach and how it worked with structural and systemic disadvantages women face in the workplace. "I think it's okay - it's good, even - to do that", Obama said.