Perfectionism Kills Your Leadership Presence

When you prepare for your business presentations, do you try to make everything perfect? It’s great to get personal satisfaction from excellence. But trying to make your presentations perfect can actually jeopardize your leadership presence and success.

Here’s a case in point:  a story about my earliest years as a professional singer.

I always loved singing on Broadway, but what I really wanted to sing was jazz. I feel in love with jazz after I had been singing other styles for a few years. And I can tell you why I fell in love with it: it forced me to dare to sing with a kind of freedom that I had never known before.

Until that time, my singing was about executing everything in a certain way, locking it in – duplicating over and over my idea of how something should sound. My attempt was to freeze what I thought was my best performance. I was trying to be perfect. And the quality of my singing suffered.

My perfectionism went hand in hand with a preoccupation with the audience’s response; would the audience think that I was “good”, or good enough? I thought that perfection would give me their approval. Perfectionism kept me in bondage, because it robbed me of the freedom and spontaneity I needed, in order to be truly creative with a song. And it took the fun out of singing, until I was able to learn to let go.

So, how does this relate to your business presentations and your leadership presence? Leadership presence is an energy that says, “I am so happy to be with you, and I have a message for you that you’re going to value. And during our time together, whatever happens, I can handle it!”

The purpose of your preparation and rehearsal for a business presentation is to give you a solid foundation for the delivery of your message, so that by the time you get in front of your business audience, you will have the ability to project gravitas while being spontaneous, conversational, and authentic.

So, take this tip:  When you rehearse for your business presentations, internalize your content. Don’t memorize it. The only parts to memorize are the opening and closing sentences, bearing in mind that you will always need to be “in the moment” and ready to be flexible at any time.

When your business listeners see that you not only “know your stuff”, but have the confidence to be spontaneous, your leadership presence will skyrocket.

Being flawless or slick is not always engaging. Being “in the moment” is compelling.

Perfection is an illusion. So, take the risk. Let go of perfectionism when you speak for business

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