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On the face of it, perfectionism can seem like a good thing in public speaking. Having high standards and a strong need for achievement can lead to outstanding work. Who wouldn't want to be a perfect public speaker? But when you look a little closer, you'll see that perfectionism is a curse, not a blessing in public speaking....
"Perfect is the enemy of good" - Voltaire
One of the biggest mistakes I see in aspiring public speakers isn't that they make mistakes, far from it. It's actually that they just those mistakes negatively and insist on trying to be perfect at all times.
Perfectionism goes a little something like this:I'm speaking.I'm suppose to be good at this, even if I've never done this before.People are judging me and THEY WILL NOT BE SATISFIED UNLESS I'M PERFECT.Everything I do and say, therefore MUST BE PERFECT.
Ok. There a few problems with this very common thought patter...
All this was a big revelation for me, as a recovering perfectionist. It hit home for me when I was working with one of my clients and screwed up with a piece of speaking. Her reaction was, "Oh, thank God Sarah, you're not perfect!" In fact, every time I screwed up (which was quite a lot), she told me that it helped her connect with me and my message more and more.
These days I don't worry about mistakes. And my audiences prefer it that way. Public speaking is not about perfection. It's about communicating. As long as you can communicate your ideas, you can reach your speaking goals. If you are afraid of making even the smallest of mistakes, public speaking will never be pleasurable for you, or for your audience.
Read More about How to Combat Perfectionism in Public Speaking here
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