While they have been telling her not to point out possible drawbacks in her own presentations, my card today advises not to waste energy trying to hide them.
A couple months ago I wrote an editorial about the inevitable errors and oversights made in publishing a newspaper. So many words go past your desk that by the end of a day, you're seeing what isn't there. It doesn't matter how capable you are, how fussy, even how intelligent; mistakes will be made, they'll be in print for all to see, and you'd better get over it and get on with the next task. I wrote that when I began working at the paper, I was a bit hoity-toity about sloppiness in published productions, but before long I came to understand that we are all probably as bad as each other. Shit happens.
|Under the oak trees|
I was surprised to hear how different readers interpreted it.
One thought I was apologizing for imperfections. I sure as hell wasn't. I was saying they're inevitable, period.
One thought the editorial was too personal; I should write about more important subjects, like politics. (When I know something about politics, maybe I will. What I do know about? Published typos and other errors that make me grit my teeth and struggle to maintain my healthy self-esteem.)
Another thought the piece was a bit too long.
We don't get a lot of feedback on anything we put into the paper, but one reader responded that she understood what I was talking about and that we do pretty well as far as she is concerned.
For the benefit of new readers, HERE'S THE ARTICLE. Originally I wrote it for this blog, then thought it might fit well on the editorials page, where we sadly lack input from local readers (and writers).
Where I agree with the Toastmasters: when you're trying to make a point, focus on that point. Don't be self-effacing; don't say "It's only my opinion" and "I think." It's already obvious that it's your opinion and you're saying what you think.
Where I disagree: I believe it's okay to admit you aren't perfect, that you're nervous and uncertain. A little humanity goes a long way with your listeners, who can relate to you more easily when they can see that you are more like them than not. Don't work too hard to present a polished image; let your human self show. Maybe this isn't the best approach on a speaking stage, but in life? It's the only way to go.
|In the oak trees.|