Yesterday I was sipping a cappuccino (yes, my favourite!) in the Oxford Belfry Hotel with someone I hadn’t seen since ……well, since 1995! We both look a little more mature and have far more fulfilling lives thanks to following our own paths.
We were talking about ‘endings’. We agreed that in order to create the possibility of new beginnings (fresh career, new relationship, more fulfilling role etc) you must create a void, a space, a gap. To do that, you need to finish things off well. However frustrated you feel about how your boss treats you, however upset and hurt you are in your relationship, you need to finish things well so you don’t carry any unresolved feelings with you. Any of that unresolved stuff is clutter which prevents you from being open to new opportunities and possibilities. Rage against your ex-spouse pollutes future relationships (as well as current ones), guilt that you did a less than adequate job last time will cloud your performance in the current role, prolonged unresolved grief over a parent isolates you and undermines your health and happiness.
You can even apply this idea to your presentations. It’s as well to examine what happened over a presentation you aren’t happy with. Ask yourself,
- How am I feeling about it?
- What’s the reason(s) I’m feeling this way? (Make a list)
- Look at the outcome I wanted – how close did my presentation get to fulfilling that outcome?
- What can I do differently another time?
This last is the crucial question since it’s no good trying to re-rehearse what went wrong. All you’ll do is reinforce the uncomfortable feeling. You now need to make peace with yourself so you can move on.
Many times I have come across those terrified of giving presentations since a particularly hideous experience. The resultant feeling is reinforced with constant re-rehearsing of the horror and humiliation – you were so nervous, you knocked over the podium at a conference; you were wiped the floor with by a belligerent and intolerant chairman; you had an expert in the front row who knew far more than you did and revealed it in the Q and As!
Make peace with yourself and dwell on what worked. Remember your competence and your good performances. And leave behind feelings of unresolve that do not serve your best interests.