I’m going to use the “F” Word today.
I know I’ve already made some of you uncomfortable.
You don’t like that word directed at you.
If you direct it to others, it’s not well received.
The Truth: Failure Gets a Bad Rap!
We learn far more from our failures than things we do correctly the first time. This certainly applies to Public Speaking and Presenting.
One of my mantras is:
“Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.”
No one has everchallenged me on it. Many agree they should take and make as many Speaking Opportunities as possible. If they do, they will grow their businesses, advance their careers, and increase their leadership roles.
Speaking Opportunities are also Learning Opportunities.
Things we learn from public speaking are often not from
presentations going smoothly and without any flaws or snafus. Sometimes, it’s quite the opposite!
Many of the public speaking skills I have came about because I forgot, messed up, or didn’t even know about using them in presentations.
I write my own Introduction. It’s an integral part of the speech, and what every speaker should do. Mine follows the guidelines of a good Introduction and does a nice job of setting me up as the next speaker. There is some humor built into it and usually does a great job of connecting me to the audience before my Opening.
All morning I had been giving a number of small workshops at a manufacturing firm. In the afternoon, the entire company gather together for the main meeting of the event. I handed my Introduction to the VP of Sales who was to Introduce me. He goes stage center, looks briefly at my Introduction, wads it up in his hands and says, “We all know Fred! Come up and give us your presentation!”
I had to do some quick thinking and improvising because I never expected him not to read what I had given him!
That was a HUGE Lesson. Ever since, I email the Introduction to the emcee in advance of the event, asking them to review it and contact me with any questions. I explain that it is an important part of the presentation. I make it a point to see them before the event and, again, ask if there are any questions.
I was delivering a presentation at a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon that consisted of thirty-six slides. Everything was going smoothly until I pressed the button on my remote to advance the slide to number eight. Suddenly, the screen went blank!
My computer was working fine, as was the projector. Because this was a luncheon meeting with a tight schedule, I didn’t have time to reboot the equipment and see if that would fix the problem.
Fortunately, as a backup, I always print my slides in Keynote’s Light Table View (for PowerPoint users, it’s called Slide Sorter View). This option allows me to place up to forty-two slides on one sheet of paper. Since I use mostly images, rather than bullet points and text, it was very easy to look at the image of the slide and know what to talk about.
I quickly found out that having a backup plan and using it is not as easy as I had hoped. (It was almost Big Sweat instead of No Sweat!) Luckily, I really know this material, and the presentation continued and was well received.
The lesson I learned was that having that “Plan B” was not enough. I needed to practice with the Light Table View, also.
I’ve taken this concept a step further, and now have the Light Table View printout next to the computer when delivering presentations and find it gives me the “overview of where I am” better than looking just at the Presenter Display View on my mac.
Presenter Display View (Presenter Tools in PowerPoint) is a tremendous tool for presenting that I also learned by “not knowing” how to get the “screens arranged” correctly.
I was presenting in “mirror” mode, where the image on the screen is the image projected. This is nice, because the presenter can face the audience and not turn their back to see what the audience is seeing. Better than this is the Presenter Display View which lets me see:
• What the audience sees.
• The next slide.
• The time or a timer.
You can see the advantage this view offers. However, it took trial and error and research for me to figure out how to get the screens, mine and the one the audience sees, arranged correctly. I’m not a techie and the learning was frustrating. But the reward of having it work correctly – tremendous! I’m able to deliver a far better presentation using this tool.
Failing to make this work initially, forced me out of my confort zone to learn something new – Good!
I read a quote once that rings true: “Learning begins at the edge of our comfort zone.” It’s also a fact that when we get out of our comfort zone, it becomes larger!
Perhaps it is the word “Failure” that must be addressed. It has a negative connotation. If we substitute the word, “Experiment,” the “Failure” doesn’t seem like such a big deal. We don’t expect “experiments” to always have positive outcomes. A “failed experiment” takes us closer to the results we are seeking because it let’s us eliminate one process, idea or technique. This is a good thing – correct?
Until we say, “Our experiment was successful because it brought us closer to a solution,” let’s
For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you a FREE Gift.
Go to: https://nosweatpublicspeaking.com/freegift to receive it!
About the Author
Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and author of the book,
“No Sweat Public Speaking!”
Businesses and individuals hire him because they want to improve their
Public Speaking and Presentation Skills.
They do this because we perceive really great speakers to be Experts.
Perception is reality and we rather deal with Experts.
They also know:
Speaking Opportunities are Business Opportunities.
Speaking Opportunities are Career Opportunities.
Speaking Opportunities are Leadership Opportunities.
He shows them how to
Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with –