What can a blender disaster teach you about presenting?

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When people hear what I work at they often ask the question.  “What is your best tip”?

My best tip can vary depending on who I am talking to.  For someone who is really daunted by the thoughts of speaking in public it might be something completely different than the tip I would give to someone who is a regular and confident presenter.  However, the one I most frequently find myself sharing is this – it is better to be yourself than to be perfect.  Striving for perfection puts incredible pressure on you to present at a level that may currently be beyond your reach.  Besides, audiences tend to warm more towards those who are human than those who are perceived as perfect.

In the book 59 seconds, the author Richard Wiseman who is an experimental scientist, gives a really interesting example that backs up this theory.   It relates to 2 people demonstrating how to use a blender.  Both of them are very professional and good at demonstrating.  At one stage, one of them gets into a bit of bother and disaster strikes.  The contents of the blender spill over her.  Later, when the audience were questioned on the likeability of both of those performing the demonstration – the one who made the mistake came across as more likeable.

So for today, that is my best tip.  Don’t worry about being perfect, you will be more relaxed and natural if you are yourself.  Besides, as Richard Wiseman proved, your audience will like you more if you come across as yourself, even if yourself is less than perfect!