It will never be perfect

imperfectLast week, one of the students in my public speaking class asked if she could postpone giving her speech for another week. Why?

Student: “I can give the speech today, but it won’t be very good. But if I can have another week, it’ll be perfect.”

Me: “Get up to the front of the class and start talking!” (well, not exactly…..more like “That’s OK, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Why don’t you go up to the front of the room and share you ‘imperfect’ speech with us.” )

The result was a heartfelt, engaging and interesting speech, filled with stories, examples, vivid descriptions, and all manner of beautiful ‘imperfections.’ In fact, this particular student, who was so anxious about giving her speech at the beginning, stayed up at the front of the room sharing her story for well over the requested time limit of the speeches, because once she was at the front of the room and had everyone’s attention, she focused more on what she was saying, rather than how perfect – or imperfect – it was.

Perfection is a losing battle. Your version of perfection is different from everyone else’s version of perfection. Imagine holding yourself back from doing something, or sharing something, or presenting something, simply because YOU – your worst critic, by the way – think that it’s not good enough. Just the fact that you’re willing to share your knowledge and experience makes it good enough.

Your audiences don’t expect perfection. They expect an authentic, well-prepared speaker, who has worked hard to make sure that their audience is engaged, informed and get value out of a presentation.

We are all wonderfully imperfect. Let’s embrace it.


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