Managing Your Public Speaking Expectations
When I have someone come to me for public speaking coaching, they first identify exactly what they expect to achieve from the coaching. They have to be very specific about a particular presentation or a particular item they want to be the focus of the coaching.
This can be a difficult task as most come initially hoping “to be a better presenter”. Of course, we all know that means so many different things to different people. I, too, would like to be a better presenter and I’ve had more than 35 years of practice! So what can we do as individuals to manage our expectations in this arena?
As with any other coaching or improvement process, we need to clearly and specifically identify what it is we need and what it is we expect to see at the end of the exercise, however long that may be.
I find it also a great idea to have achievement markers such as preparing a 20 minute presentation in 4 hours, finding starting expressions I am comfortable using, identifying my symptoms of nerves and finding 2 different practical ways to address them; etc. These are just examples, not what I would recommend globally. Because we are all different with different expectations, these markers need to be set individually.
How do you set your expectations?
For me it is no different to setting targets or goals. They have to be specific (am I sounding like a broken record?) realistic, measurable and achievable within a certain (and identified) timeframe.
When you have set your expectations you then need to manage them as you would any other targets. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that presenting is any different to completing a task or project. In fact for some, it may be easier to manage your expectations by thinking of this as a project. Give yourself, as the project, targets, timeline and measurables based on the resources you are going to input.
Its a way of making you manage without too much added stress about the topic since for most people public speaking or presenting does not come easily.
One last word on this for now. When your results do not meet your expectations, analyse the data without the emotions. Sometimes there are improvements we can make and sometimes influences occur over which we have no control. It is not always a reflection on you or your abilities.