Some folks come to us for coaching after years of feeling bad about how they communicate. They got some harsh feedback, or maybe they didn’t do a great job on a presentation, and now their internal story is “I’m not good at this.”
I’m not sure why public speaking, in particular, brings out so many people’s inner critic. We are able to give ourselves some latitude and grace in many other areas of our lives, but this one quickly turns into an “I’m a disaster” narrative.
If a speech or presentation isn’t going the way you hoped, that’s okay. Take a breath. Smile. Make eye contact with a friendly face. Remember why you’re there. What are you hoping people will take away from your message? If they don’t remember anything else, what’s the most important thing? (Hint: what do you want them to feel, think, or do as a result of what you say?)
And finally, let it go. Don’t ruminate on how that grumpy person looked at you or how many times you think you said “um.” Focus on what went well and what you can build on for next time. Start a new story, one that says “I’m getting better at this every time I do it.”