Yes, I was absolutely useless.
But the worst thing? I thought I was good.
I’ve been having a garage spring clean and came across a box of old MiniDiscs.
For younger readers, MiniDisk was the technology after cassettes and before MP3 players.
I popped one into the old garage hi-fi, hoping to find a disco mix to help my tidying motivation.
Instead I heard… me!
I had a vague recollection of the event (no idea why I recorded it). I was leading a ‘Creativity Workshop’, to a group of engineers… in Middlesbrough.
The perfect storm.
As I listened, I winced. The content was ok. But the delivery… I was dreadful.
It wasn’t just that ‘disliking the sound of your own voice’ thing. It was how bad I was at presenting.
Of course, I could make excuses. Difficult audience, I was younger, it was Middlesbrough (only kidding, Teesside). But the truth, is if I presented like that now you’d ask for a refund.
So what’s happened?
It could have been the 10,000 hours theory popularised in Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers. Or perhaps it was something else?
Not long after that workshop recording was made, I started regular keynote speaking, often at events where there were other great (much better than me) presenters.
I was the person sitting in the front row taking loads of notes.
I was the super-enthusiastic person who would meet the other speakers and ask for hints and tips.
And, as this was the start of online videos, I could now watch and learn. And I did… for hours.
You may know, I now work with my wife, Christine. After every presentation, large or small she reviews what I did well and more often what I could do better.
That’s a lot of reviews and a lot of honest feedback.
And that’s better than 10,000 hours. I could have presented that creativity workshop hundreds of times and probably improved – but mastering something takes conscious learning.
Having the ability to present to any group, large or small, and for that audience to be totally engaged then most importantly to take action afterwards, is a skill I believe everyone could and should improve.
That’s why I’m excited to announce that I have teamed up with Action Coach UK to run two very special How to Be A Super Speaker MasterClasses in July this year.
You can read all about the eventshere and there’s an amazing early bird discount available for the speedy.
Click on the link, find out more, if you like it – book a place and I’ll see you there.
PS I’m going to share some of the MiniDisc recording at the Super Speaker MasterClass. Come along and you can watch me cringe.