One of the reasons we fear public speaking so much is that we create such a high performance standard for ourselves. Quite often this standard is perfection.
We do this because we fear making a mistake in front of other people. That’s understandable, of course. But the perfection standard is unreasonable. In fact, it contributes to our fears, which can affect our public speaking ability.
Here’s a simple exercise for you. Watch any politician make a speech on television. Pick a really important politician – on a national stage – like the President of the United States for example. Watch him carefully, listening word for word. You will hear him make a mistake, hesitate, almost misspeak or say the wrong word.
You are watching one of the most powerful, successful people in the world – whose professional craft is to make speeches. And he makes a mistake.
Think about one of the best Presidents in speech making in the past – known as the great communicator – Ronald Reagan. Here’s the mistake he made while campaigning in the northwest United States. “Trees cause more pollution than people.” Wow. Really? That’s a humdinger, isn’t it? And that came out of the mouth of the Great Communicator. In front of thousands, if not millions of people. And he survived and went on to win the election.
So if the Great Communicator makes mistakes like that, then relax a bit and assume you will make a few too. And you’ll survive.
So stop holding yourself to an impossible standard when you are getting all worried about making a speech. Because you’ll make a mistake or two. And you’ll survive.
All that said, we will look into how you can prepare for a speech that will reduce your mistakes and improve it. And that’s a post for a future time.
Have a nice day – John