September 2012, ” Anjali the Creative Director is sick and we have to present the pitch to the client today, as a Business Director you will now have to lead the creative section too! “
Along with 3 other team members I enter the boardroom for a pitch presentation, I am comfortable with 75% of the presentation because it is my space and then comes the creative section, I am slightly nervous and I start by saying, “I am not the creative director of the company but I will try my best to do justice to this section.”
I do a reasonable job, we get good feedback and on our way back in the taxi, an intern who was with us to set up the room says, ” everything about that presentation was great except that line – I am not a creative director ….. .” I said to her, ” But I was just being honest .” Her response, ” it sounded like you doubted the idea.”
I kept reflecting on the intern’s feedback and it bugged me for days. But that feedback also made me notice that I do use words and phrases like,
- I am not sure,
- I may be wrong,
- only in my view
- I am really not good at this but I will try
- I hope I can do this
these phrases and words dilute my assertions and after having developed an awareness I needed to overcome this problem.
Here is a practical way to overcome this habit by Seth Godin. It worked for me, I am sure it will work for you.
If your habit is to clear your throat, apologize a few times, how you’re about to share and in general, apologize for the assertions you’re about to make…
you probably realize that this is not an effective way to give a talk, lead a class or have a strategic discussion.
Consider carrying a coin in your pocket, one that’s large, or in a foreign currency.
Every time you feel like you need to minimize your contribution, simply stop and turn the coin over. You can count that as your obligation fulfilled.
And then you can get back to work.
[This isn’t simply an analogy. It actually works.]
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