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So I got a little overconfident and, not practicing what I preach, neglected to prepare a strong opening, or even a decent closing. It was one of those times that I talk about here on Speak Schmeak a lot: When you get too comfortable and start resting on your laurels, something will go wrong. And it did!
As I got to the part of the presentation where I talk about openings and closings, I confessed to the audience that I hadn't prepared the opening very well. Why did I choose to reveal this mistake? Because once I started talking about the importance of creating a strong opening, it would have been a no-brainer for the audience to think back and realize I did not do this myself. I am always a role model for speaking; there's no way around it.
So I took responsibility and talked about memorable openings and how mine wasn't. Didn't beat myself up, but I made myself an example.
Then here and there, as is typical in presentations, I got ahead of myself or a little behind, and made a couple of fumbles. But I had a great time and a great conversation with this group of women.
At the end of the session, I was talking with a woman I know, saying, "Well, that's life. Nobody's perfect and I mess up just like everyone else." Another woman approached me and told me she loved that about my presentation. It humanized me, and it made public speaking seem attainable to her. She said, "Watching you made me feel like I could do it."
Now, I don't make mistakes on purpose, but to be honest, this comment was worth hundreds of standing ovations to me. Because someone saw me in the front of the room, enjoying myself, not stressing out about making mistakes, moving on and getting the job done.
I am all about making public speaking attainable for my audiences! I want them to walk out the door saying, "I can do that!" And, "I can have fun while doing that!"
I don't care if you're perfect. Nobody cares if you're perfect. What the audience wants is to get something of value, something relevant to their lives that they can take with them when they leave. They want engagement and connection, not perfection.
So I was reminded of my own flaws as a presenter, reminded that I can never get too comfortable. I was also reminded that my message is getting across. And it made my day!
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