Fake It If You Mess Up
You have heard the expression “fake it till you make it”. But how does that apply to public speaking? Some people assume that you just pretend that you are Anthony Robbins, you go up there, and you are great- it is not quite that easy.
Here is the thing: if you have not prepared an interesting speech with useful ideas packaged with compelling stories, then it is probably not going to be a very good presentation. So simply faking that is not going to help.
But, here is where I think this concept could actually be helpful: so often I hear people giving a speech and it is pretty good- they look comfortable and confident. But when they make a mistake, they naturally act embarrassed. They cringe, the wince, they apologize, they roll their eyes in contempt. So they are being genuine and as advised, you should always be authentic. But this kind of authenticity is not helping them because the part where they forgot or made a mistake becomes the most memorable part of the speech.
So here is where I think this axiom can work. If you do make a mistake, act like you cannot believe how well things are going. Just keep on going by faking that everything is going well. You can second guess yourself later and mull over the mistake when you check the video recorded version of your speech and then you can have your natural reaction. But until then, fake it like you have already made it.
Let Video Replace Your Phone Tag Games
Have you ever played phone tag with a new business contact? Either a new strategic partner or a vendor you have already been working with? You have to talk about something where it is a little too complicated to type everything out so you want them to hear you explain it.
Here is what I have been increasingly doing these days to save time and make it easier for myself: if I know that I want to communicate something by speaking, I just record a video. There is nothing fancy or polished about it- it is just as if I am having a conversation with a person in front of me, and then I email it to the respective individual. So if they are on a different continent, timezone, or are in and out of meetings, they can watch it whenever it is convenient for them.
Also, at times, it is more powerful than a voicemail yet much faster than typing out a memo, something which can take half an hour as opposed to a five minute video. In cases where you are dealing with a possible prospect or if you are looking for someone to hire you or if you are hiring someone, I feel it is more powerful if they can see you addressing them by name and talking to them, telling them what you need from them or what you can do for them.
That is why I recommend doing simple talking hand videos to communicate- it is simple, easy, and it stands out because so few people do it.
Thank People In The Middle Of Your Presentation
“Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. I would like to thank all of you on the internet for coming here today.”
Can you sense how boring that sounds? My advice on when you have to thank someone, whether it is someone who introduced you or a dignitary in the office, is that do not let it be the first thing that comes out of your mouth. That is what most people do. It is instantly ignored, forgotten, and it just sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher- unimportant and boring.
Am I saying that you should never thank anyone? Not at all! What I am suggesting is that the first thing out of your mouth should be something that grabs the attention of your audience. Make it interesting for them, even if it is just a 60 second presentation.
Then, in the middle of your representation, around 30 seconds into it, thank the dignitaries who showed up or the person who introduced you. Just a little change in the order can make a huge difference on the impression you leave on your audience and listeners.