Have you ever thought about everything that can go wrong when you give a presentation? We all have. About 25 percent of people report they have some kind of fear of public speaking.
But crawling down a sinkhole of negative self-talk is not the answer. You have to fight off your fears and inner critic to avoid four common speaker mind traps.
As a speaker coach, I’m duty-bound to show you how to avoid the worst mindset a presenter can have. This mindset is 100 percent self-centered and destructive. Hint: The “perfection” mindset pops up when you try too hard to be flawless or too impressive.
When you get stuck in the perfection mindset, you believe four big lies:
- High-Stakes Threat: “I can’t make a mistake, my boss, potential clients or peers will be judging my every move. The stakes are high!”
- Not Good Enough: “I suck at public speaking. I’m not good enough to pull this presentation off!”
- What if I Forget: “I know my mind will go blank and I’ll forget what to say next. I’ll look like a fool or just a deer in headlights!”
- Heavy Burden of Proof: “I have to prove that I’m smart, credible and worth listening to. I’ve got to impress these powerful folks!”
There is, however, a better speaker mindset that I teach my coaching clients. You’ll enjoy presenting more and get better results if you ditch the “perfection” mindset. Here are four more empowering mindsets:
When you feel like you’re facing a HIGH-STAKES THREAT, don’t tell yourself, “I can’t make a mistake.” Talk yourself down to earth. You can minimize mistakes, but you can’t eliminate them. If you make a minor mistake, ignore it. Your audience does not expect perfect information delivery, they want to connect with you and walk away with information they can use. More empowering mindset: “Stuff happens!”
When you are feeling NOT GOOD ENOUGH, put in extra practice time before your presentation. The more comfortable you are with you content, the more you can have a conversation with your audience. Take the pressure off yourself to be perfect. Focus on engaging your audience with stories, questions, and examples. More empowering mindset: “Focus on connection, not perfection!”
When you keep asking yourself, WHAT IF I FORGET, don’t say, “I know my mind will go blank.” Bring along memory aids (notes, bullet points, your script) you can glance at during your presentation. More empowering mindset: “If I forget, I’ll just move on or check my notes.”
When you are carrying a HEAVY BURDEN OF PROOF, drop that load. You don’t have to prove how smart you are, use big words or talk about your credentials. Your audience is not judging you. They just want solutions to their problems. More empowering mindset: “My presentation is about my audience, not me!”
Want more tips on how to speak with an empowering, audience-centered, mindset? Download my audience engagement cheat sheet: https://mailchi.mp/betterspeakingskills/cheatsheet