Have you ever let perfectionism stop you from public speaking? You know, you are waiting until you have your topic down pat, your slides are perfect, you are 100% confident and you know for sure it will be a success.
I recently spoke at a conference and although I did lots of preparation, it was not my usual topic, had some new content and I did not feel 100% confident.
The presentation did not go as planned. I forgot one of my key stories and I failed to nail my call to action, ending in a soft closing. This annoyed me as I like to set a high standard and always do a great job.
After my presentation, during the break, everyone came up to me and thanked me for a great inspirational talk. People asked me about strategies they could use to overcome the difficulties they may experience. They were curious as to how I used the stage (spatial anchoring) to create impact. The conference organiser said they loved the way I engaged the audience and kept focusing on them, for their benefit and for their success.
Ok, so what is going on here. I am a professional speaker, I stuffed up in my mind, but the audience and the organiser loved what I did.
I guess my perfectionism is showing up and creating these negative beliefs and negative self-talk on my part. Good thing is that I know this and I recognise this about myself. I say yes and do the best I can, knowing it will unfortunately not be perfect and that is OK.
I work a lot with people who fear public speaking, get nervous and anxious before speaking and often avoid public speaking. They are practising, attending workshops, getting coaching and still not prepared to start public speaking yet. They are worried about making mistakes, forgetting their content, fidgeting, their face going red and being rejected by the audience. In other words, they are worried about not being perfect in their presentation.
The reality is that perfectionism will have some impact on all of us. But if you allow perfectionism to win, this will mean you never start public speaking.
The simple answer is to just say yes, do your preparation and then do the best you can. Learn from, adjust, add and make changes as needed for future presentations. Don’t let perfectionism be the reason that you don’t start speaking.