This trio of F-bombs tends to hold us back from getting out there and speaking our story. Flaws, foibles and fails happen to even the best speakers. It's not that we have these F-bombs, it's how we use, recover and thrive with them.
There is no such thing as a flawless speaker. Speaking is an art that you need to constantly improve. Our flaws are what make us interesting to watch. It's what makes us human. You might think you talk too fast or too slow, you gesture too much or not enough, the pitch of your voice is too high or too low. Speaking isn't Goldilocks and 3 Bears – you don't have to be just right. You just have to do your best and have kick-ass content.
Embrace what in your mind are your flaws. Those make you stand out. It's what makes you human instead of a Cylon.
Speakers make mistakes. Did you ever forget a part of your speech and afterwards thought, “Man, I can't believe I forgot that part. It was so important. I totally left it out.” Honestly, this is the BEST kind of foible to have. No one in the audience knows what you left out, forgot or didn't say perfectly. Only you do.
What about mistakes the whole audience knows you made? You know like dropping the B-word in front of an entire audience of business professionals? Mistakes are always larger in our own minds than the mind of our audiences. Mistakes are magic. They transform you from being the all-knowing speaking guru on the stage to a real, authentic person made of human parts.
I'm not telling you to intentionally screw up during your presentations. I'm telling you if it happens, roll with it. If your audience is laughing at you, laugh with them. They'll adore you even more.
The worst F-bombs are presentation fails. These happen to even the best speakers. Remember when Tony Robbins failed when a bunch of people got burns on their feet from walking across the coals? Sometimes your audience analysis is off – read my lesson from an audience fail. Sometimes that really fun joke you wrote flops. Fails happen. You're not perfect. In fact you're perfectly imperfect and the fact that you are reading this blog means you want to get better, learn and improve.
Failures teach us lessons. You learn what content works and what falls flat. You learn more about your audience and yourself as a speaker. A presentation fail is a great learning opportunity. It's feedback that guides you toward continual improvement. It's disappointing, but don't miss the lesson.
And for pity's sake, don't let a fail silence your story. Just because you messed up, doesn't mean it wasn't worth sharing.
Give a big hug to your inner F-bomb. Those flaws, foibles and fails ultimately make you a better speaker. Heck, according to Craig Valentine, these F-words even give you fodder for future presentations.