Posted By Judy on January 29, 2013
For many executives, the fear of mistakes and the fear of public speaking are a one-two punch to their performance. But, as Daniel Coyle explains in his book, The Talent Code, mistakes help us learn. Learning new speaking skills is no exception. Learning new speaking skills is no exception. For many executives, the fear of mistakes and the fear of public speaking are a one-two punch to their performance.
So let’s deflect that first punch by reconsidering the value of mistakes.
What makes a good mistake? One made in practice.
Like a staggering baby, with each practice step the baby learns to walk. Practice what you plan to say in a safe, comfortable environment. Notice what’s working and what’s not. Rather than feeling bad about each mistake you make in your practice session use it to adapt and modify to improve your skills step by step. This is what Coyle calls “deep practice.” His research shows this is what true masters did to become excellent in their fields. Our experience coaching professionals proves his point. Practice builds skills – in part because it allows for safe mistakes and safe learning.
Not Just for the Big Speech
Practice should not be reserved for formal speaking events. Practice before meetings, important one-on-one conversations, internal and external presentations to small groups. In fact, anytime you are addressing an audience (including an audience of one) with an important message.
Advice Worth Taking
While I realize just the thought of practicing before your next weekly meeting may make you uncomfortable, I assure you, your communications will be better for it. Now, I realize you’re probably thinking “that’s good advice” and, like most advice, plan to ignore it.
But I implore you not to do that. I want you to actually take the advice. Practice what you plan to say before your first meeting tomorrow. Say out loud what you plan to communicate. Rinse and repeat until you feel your message is delivered comfortably and without mistakes.
Go ahead, indulge me. Then, write me a comment to this post and tell me the results. Speaking for impact is not an accident. It’s a skill.