It’s common to fear public speaking. The main reason people fear public speaking is that you are worried about making a mistake in front of people. No one wants to look silly or foolish in front of their bosses and colleagues, or clients.
When you put high expectations on yourself that state you can’t make any mistakes in the presentation at all or you’ll call that a ‘failed’ presentation, you’re destined to create a big headache for yourself. Why is this so? Well firstly everyone makes mistakes! Even the most fabulous, master presenters make little mistakes in their presentations. And guess what? They do that every time they speak. No one is perfect. It’s really important that you don’t think mistakes in your presentation mean failure.
The great news is that I’ve got some fantastic news for you today!
– No one knows! Yep! The mistakes that you make when you are presenting are actually OK. When no one except you knows the content or structure of your presentation, or which slides you’re supposed to show and when, it is perfect just the way you present it.
– When you’re a little bit rough at times it shows you are being authentic and not so polished it’s hard to relate to.
So please stop telling yourself that anything less than perfect equals failure and embrace the authenticity that comes with little errors here and there. Doesn’t that give you some peace of mind?
What should you do if you make a little error?
– I think it’s nice to have a recovery strategy up your sleeve. I typically get people to do a little activity that distracts them from my boo boo. This is called turn-to-a-friend and is also a great way to deal with interruptions in your meeting or presentation.
– Another thing to do is possibly have a laugh at yourself. For example, sometimes when I go blank, I just ask the audience, “what am I saying? I’ve lost my train of thought in all this excitement!” and I laugh at myself, so they feel like it’s ok to laugh too. Typically, some clever person will call out, “you were saying xyz…” and get me going again!
– Of course, the best thing to do is to probably just ignore it all together. Most mistakes are only obviously to you, the audience won’t even notice they happened. Just keep going!
Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media. www.michellebowden.com.au