If you want to be a better speaker, learn from my mistake
Nobody becomes a better speaker overnight. Mastering the art of public speaking takes time and practice, but this means that, if your goal is to be a better speaker, every mistake or slip feels like a failure.
Two years ago I decided to learn to play the Ukulele, after never having played a musical instrument in my life. When I started, I was making so many mistakes that I was sorely tempted to give up, rationalising that I just wasn’t meant to be a musician.
In fact, I did give up – Twice in fact! But third time around I finally realised that I needed 1:1 tuition and I found a teacher who had the patience and the skill to help me learn.
In my first lesson with her, it became clear to me, for the first time, that, far from failing, I had actually made significant progress in my previous lessons, but I’d never noticed it. This was a revelation and spurred me to keep going, and now I have even joined a Ukulele band!
Earlier this week I shared this insight with my teacher, and we talked about the importance of recognising progress on the journey as opposed to perfection at the end. Many pupils (and their teachers) fail to stop and appreciate the value of noticing and celebrating these mini milestones.
The same applies to many reluctant public speakers. They focus all their attention on their failings without acknowledging their progress, and this one bad habit can derail their attempts to be a better speaker.
What about you? Have you ever stopped to think about how far you have come on your journey as a speaker and not on how much further you have to go to reach your desired standard? Trust me, if you want to be a better speaker, make time to acknowledge your achievements, however small.