Last week I was coaching at an international conference in Istanbul, and I had the privilege to meet one of the external keynote speakers : business thinker Jonas Ridderstrale. He told us about how each company should hand out an ‘MFU-award’ : a Major-F*ck-Up-award. He explained how people hardly learn from their successes, they learn most from their mistakes. So if you aim for strong personal development in your company, you should applaud the mistakes people make. I really liked his point of view.
This got me thinking about my work-method as a speaker’s coach. I always encourage my coachees to focus more on their strengths than on their weaknesses, and help them to better use their strengths, in order to mask their weaknesses. And I also encourage them to focus more on their successes than on their failures, in order to increases self-confidence and prevent the self-fulfilling prophecy.
Then how does Mr Ridderstrale’s approach fit in there? How can applauding terrible speeches accelerate your development as a presenter?
If we screw up, it is our natural reaction to be unhappy. After a terrible speech, we tend to be angry at ourselves, ashamed, maybe we even cry or reluctantly go back to work the next day. We want to forget about it as soon as possible and go back to ‘normal’. But how will you be sure that you won’t do exactly the same thing next time you go on stage? How can you evolve as a speaker through your failures?
First of all, beating yourself up after a bad speech will get you nowhere. Robina Courtin compares this to getting angry at your broken-down-car. Being angry will never fix the car. If it breaks down, you open de hood, and see what wrong, or you have your garagist do this. Then you fix it or have it fixed.
Secondly, forgetting about it before having analysed it, limits your growth opportunity. It has happened anyway, so you might as well use it to your benefit.
Here is what I would suggest you to do. After a MFU, don’t beat yourself up, however do focus on it. Take some time to look back and reflect upon what made it an MFU. After you’ve analysed your performance, write yourself a note. Be you own coach and write down what you would like to tell yourself before giving your next speech. Be precise and be positive. Don’t refer to all the negative elements that caused the MFU, tell yourself what you will do next time to make it a success. Give yourself only the do’s and describe what your performance will look like.
Next time you give a presentation, you pull out your note with your personal advise and you focus on your own, positive tips. I promise you, you will do it better and you will prove Mr Ridderstrale is absolutely right. MFU’s are a great opportunity for personal development and for improving your presentation performance!
More info on Mr Ridderstrale: http://jonasridderstrale.com