Perfection causes stress. Stress is toxic. For that reason alone, trying to attain perfection in your presentation is self-defeating from the outset. Let go of it now.
The human ability to sense another's nervous discomfort is not only exceedingly keen--it is contagious and stretches an audience's tension level like a stretched rubber band.
If no perfection, whatdopeople look for during a "presentation?"
Connection and engagement that allows them to experience the meaning useful information. The first two require humanity, which includes a degree of imperfection and vulnerability that prompts listeners to think, "Hey, (s)he's kind of like me!"
We wantrealpeople because we've come to understand that emotionless, perfection-emitting talking heads aren't connected with our reality. When we sit through a flawless data dump of any sort--financial, research, engineering--we wonder why the speaker didn't simply send us a White Paper and call it a day.
Where Does The Perfection Thing Come From?
L et's be fair. If you are educated in the sciences, finance, or engineering, your college grades and professional performance appraisals relate directly to your ability to be precise. In fact, you are valued and rewarded for precision. Discovery research, accounting and financial projections, aerospace engineering and quality control of all sorts contribute to the growth, safety, and stability of every aspect of life.
So, it's only natural for many to extend that kind of well-rewarded precision and analysis to the speaking platform. The problem? Lengthy, detailed, here's-everything-I-know-about-this-topic presentations that bore instead of score.
But perfection isn't limited to the precise. It extends to an entire range of psyches seeking to avoid embarrassment, be seen as "the best", or believing that anything less than perfect will be punished. The causes for that kind of thinking are numerous and varied but the results are the same: unhealthy stress that touches everyone involved.
OK, Steve, What's the Solution?
Find out what the person or audience wants to know about your topic. Make a few phone calls, drop into a cubicle or two, and say: "I've been charged with talking about The Widget Launch. What do you need to know?"
1. Your audience will give you the content.
2. You'll feel confident about being on target because you'll know you are fulfilling an already-expressed need.
3. The "presentation" will feel like the continuation of a conversation instead of a stand-up routine.
4. Those in the room will start off on your side because you've already developed a relationship with them.
5. "Perfect" loses its power when "meeting needs" replaces "knowing it all."