Well, clearly everyone's standards are different.
I got an email from the broker whose webinar I thought I had bungled on Wednesday, saying that he thought I did a good job. In addition, after viewing the competitor's product on Wednesday, he still called yesterday to request a quote from us. Yay! We may still not win the game but at least we've got a couple more strikes left to get around the bases!
All of this had made me think about something I've mentally toyed with for a while - getting more practice and learning more about presentations and public speaking.
In the past 5 years I've had plenty of opportunities to put myself 'out there' with public speaking but, since I've taken this work-from-home job, I do spend much of my time mute and 'speaking' through the computer (I don't think yelling down the stairs "Shut up!" to my dogs counts).
Over the years I know that I've lost most of the paralyzing fear I used to have about speaking in public but it's still not my strongest skill. I've tried to take workshops to help me develop my presentation/speaking toolkit but have generally found that I have, at best, been closed-off to their methods (usually because I went to them when I was feeling bad about myself and convinced there was no way I was going to be good at this) and anyway unable to find a forum to consistently practice what I had learned.
Strangely, this morning, as I was preparing to write this post, I found that something had moved for me. Instead of thinking about myself as a naturally bad presenter who hated presenting and needed to learn how to get profficient at best, I found myself thinking that it would be fun (yes, this is the key word here - fun) to get more opportunities to practice and become a really good presenter. Suddenly I felt that, not only was I open to acquiring some new tips-and-tricks, but I was willing to and excited about the prospect of take advice and coaching to get there.
This latter comment is pretty big for me. Usually when I am not good at something and I know I need to get better, I embark upon a pretty solitary process of learning. I buy books, I attend classes and workshops, I take mental notes as I watch people I don't know do the 'thing' I'm trying to do (either well or poorly - both equally as helpful.) But what I have a ego-based, pride-based barrier to is receiving coaching and advice from someone I know. I'll try everything else before asking someone I know to help me.
It's not admitting that I'm not good at something - I'm real open about that - it's allowing myself to be laid open enough to someone whose opinion matters to me (someone I know) that will enable not only the giving of advice but, more importantly, the receiving. (At least I know this. I guess it could be worse.)
I realized this was true for me when the thought occurred to me that I should ask my boss (who is an accomplished speaker/salesperson/presenter) to help me get better with this and I didn't get that tightness in my chest that usually indicates a mental/emotional barrier.
So, while I did go online and purchase a book recommended by the American Management Association today (Speak to Win), I also plan to send my boss an email and ask her if she can help me grow in this specific way. My goals? Present with purpose, with confidence, and develop a rapport with the audience.
I feel good about this.
Yay! A positive post!