One of the most liberating things that I emphasize in my Presentation Skills programs is that you don’t have to be “perfect” to be an effective speaker. You just have to be the best possible version of yourself.
I always remind people that nobody views you with the microscopic lens with which you view yourself.
Author of The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz reminds us that everyone is so busy starring in their own movie, they don’t observe yours as closely as you assume they do.
If for example you stumble over a word or sentence, calmly say “let me rephrase that” or “let me reconnect my mind to my mouth” and your audience will hardly notice. However, if you think you have to say it perfectly and begin over, your “mistake” will be much more glaring.
The key here is to let go of believing you have to be flawless. I cannot tell you how many times I have been live on air or giving a keynote address and stumbled over a word or phrase. When I ask the audience afterwards if they noticed anything amiss, they seldom have.
Last year I was speaking at the Home Depot Store Managers meeting in Vegas. The stage manager switched the clock from one side of the stage to the other, so when I looked down the clock had vanished.
When I asked the audience how much time I had remaining, someone shouted out 8 minutes….I mentally panicked, and started to rush. I then looked at the other side of the stage and realized I in fact still had 18 minutes and had heard incorrectly.
When I asked the organizers if they had noticed my few minutes of uncertainty, not one of them had.
I was reminded of Don Miguel Ruiz.
Don’t think I didn’t beat myself up for not wearing a watch and not being aware of the stage clock switch (a mistake I will never make again!). But I look back and say it may not have been “perfect” but everyone got the message I was communicating and still enjoyed the program.
You see we don’t have to be PERFECT to be IMPACTFUL!
Let perfectionism go!