A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast that got me thinking about perfectionism. When I started At the Podium, I belonged to an awesome mastermind group focused on the business of speaking. It came to an end when the person leading it moved to another state. I knew he was looking for someone to take his group over and I considered it, but I just didn’t feel ready.
I felt the same way months before starting my Saturday Morning Speaker Mastermind group too. Looking back, I understand why I hemmed and hawed in those situations. I felt the pressure of having to be “perfect” right out of the gate or else no one would come.
That got me thinking about how the speakers I work with feel. It makes sense that part of what’s going on in their mind is that same, “I have to get this perfect or no one will accept me” feeling. And, until it’s done to their standard of perfection, they will struggle to move on to the next step.
It seems that no matter where any one of us is on our speaker journey, we all have a hard time ignoring that little voice inside our head trying to convince us that we just have to get this “one thing” done right because our success depends on it. If we can get that one thing perfect, then we’ll finally be ready to step onto a bigger stage, to lead a group, to accept a keynote opportunity, etc.
The truth is, when we get stuck or drag our feet, it’s rarely ever because we have to get that “one thing” done. It’s us worrying about the ways our audiences will judge us if we aren’t perfect, which turns into us judging and doubting our ability to:
Create a quality experience for our audiences that equals the quality experience we’ve had sitting in someone else’s audience.
Confidently share our expertise when we don’t feel especially confident as a speaker (or vice-versa).
Deliver a perfectly designed talk, perfectly, so our perfect clients, without hesitation, will be drawn to work with us.
I’m in the same boat with you all. I felt the pressure of my talks needing to be perfect when I finally decided it was time for me to start speaking. I experienced self-judgment and doubt too. After all, I help speakers design their signature talks… doesn’t that mean it should be easy for me to create a signature talk for myself? It wasn’t, because I’m just as susceptible to wanting to be perfect as anyone else. That, my friend, is human nature.
There’s no such thing as a perfect one-and-done signature talk you can deliver the exact same way for your entire speaking career. Why? Because you are a product of your knowledge, expertise, and experiences. You should always be adjusting and adapting your signature talk(s) based on these so your next audience, which is always going to be a unique blend of people coming in at different levels and perspectives, will benefit from what you’ve learned.
For us as speakers, the process that leads to the real results we desire is based on honing and crafting our talks, audience by audience. Each time we make adjustments to our signature talk for a future audience, we’re more likely to share a talk that resonates perfectly with what that audience needs to hear when we’re in front of them.
If you really think about it, we’re more likely to be harder on ourselves than anyone in the audience is going to be. So please don’t let the idea that “YOU and your presentations have to be perfect” stand in the way of you sharing the problem-solving solutions your peeps are waiting for!
‘Til we speak again,