Considered one of the most demanding actors/singers in Hollywood, Barbra Streisand strives for perfection in all her films and recordings. In either of these 2 situation in which you can edit, touch up, add or detract her, you might be able to say that the finished product is perfect. However, if you are talking about a live performance, I am confident that Ms. Streisand would tell you that she has never achieved perfection. |
You may have found her performances excellent, sublime, fantastic, moving, and passionate. You may even say that she is the best in the business; but, her live performances are not perfect. Somewhere, somehow, someone made a mistake.
The question I have for you regarding public speaking is whether you can accept the fact that perfection is not possible in a live performance. This is not at all a bad thing because perfection is subjective. What one person deems to be perfect may not be perfection to someone else.
If you consider all of the live events we attend – be it sports, the theater, concerts, comedy shows, and yes, public speaking – mistakes are made. It is normal; it is natural. Even when we watch the news on TV or listen to it on the radio, broadcasters will fumble, they could quote the wrong statistic, or they may pronounce someone’s name incorrectly. The list goes on and on as far as the various mistakes that are made in those two mediums. The good news is that we, the listeners, are not aware of their mistakes in most cases.
The problem for those who seek perfection in public speaking is that they are placing a stress on themselves which is harmful physically, emotionally, and intellectually. If you waste your time worrying about delivering your material so that it is ‘perfect,’ you are missing the most important aspect of good presentation skills.
Public speaking is the art of oral communication with an audience. Not to an audience or at them. That little preposition with means that your audience will be reacting to you. They may smile, laugh, nod their heads in agreement or shake their heads in disagreement. Whatever their reaction, that reaction is the 2nd part of the definition. And those responses can change the dynamics of your delivery.
When you can treat your audience as if you are having a conversation, which means that you must make eye contact and speak with emotion, with life, and with color, you will then recognize how they are responding to you.
There are many facets attributed to dynamic public speaking. Perfection is not one of them. Instead of seeking that which is unattainable, might I suggest that you strive for excellence? Seeking perfection is limiting; striving for excellence? Liberating!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To get started improving your presentation skills, click Voice Training and Presentation Skills for Nancy's free ebook.
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