For example, I considered myself a “technically challenged” person. That was my story about myself. When I was a kid, my dad said that girls weren’t good at technical things. I totally bought into that story and left all the technical things to him. Fast forward to being an adult. I’m trying to do a webinar and my computer is giving me error messages. I cannot continue with the presentation until my tech virtual assistant comes to the rescue. By that time, fifteen minutes have passed and 60% of the attendees have left. After that I’m afraid to do a webinar for a long time, until I do the exercise I show you below.
Changing My Inner-Story
That gave me the courage to do it again. This time, a new problem. Half way through the webinar, the sound starts getting distorted and people are complaining in the comments section. I panic.. I’m lost on what to do. My assistant is MIA. At that point, I either need to call someone else, cancel my webinar or change my story about myself.
I ask myself, “what would a tech geek do in my situation?” Then a transforming idea comes to mind. I type the issue into Google and discover a forum that explains how to fix the problem. It works! That all happens inside of two minutes. I lose no one. The webinar continues and all goes well.
After that, I relied on my own ingenuity more and more. Now I consider myself a bit of a “tech geek” in the webinar department, and people come to ME for help!
How to Turn Your Bad Presentation into Your Best
You might have a mean-spirited inner-storyteller seated in the back of your mind dictating stories that leave you feeling negative in some way. It happens to almost everyone.
For example, imagine you give a presentation one day and it doesn’t go so well. Nothing too serious, it just didn’t seem to “land” with your listeners. Your inner-storyteller starts interpreting the event.
- You’re bad at giving presentations.
- You went on WAY too long about those statistics.
- Those people are just idiots.
Write Your Own Story
There’s a campy TV show called “Once Upon a Time”. It features fairy tale characters from well-known stories who all end up living in a small town together in Maine called “Storybrooke”. At one point in the series, the characters discover that there is a storyteller dictating their lives. At first they seek out that storyteller to get him to rewrite the story in their favor. And then they realize they could just get a hold of the “quill” and rewrite the story themselves.
Re-Write Your Happy Ending
Imagine you could get the quill from the inner-storyteller and rewrite the story of your presentation experience. This first requires changing the perspective through which you interpret the event.
For example, instead of looking at the event through the lens of “What went WRONG?,” you could look through the lens of “What went RIGHT?” If so, it might go something like this:
- It went better than last time.
- You remembered everything you wanted to say.
- You finished the presentation on time.
Alternatively, you could look through the lens of “What could I learn from this?” and speak from the first person:
- Next time I will rehearse more.
- I could add some examples to those statistics.
- I could find out the goals of my listeners and make sure I address those better next time.
Tell us your happy ending!
Loading New Bio Software
Now you might have a different story about your presentation. It could be “that was a good learning experience” instead of “that was a failure”.
The other thing you can do in the middle of a challenge is ask yourself, “If I were good at solving a situation like this, what would I do that I’m not doing now?” It’s like loading the software into your bio computer to fix the problem.
Of course, this is common wisdom that you may have heard before. BUT, it’s one thing to know it intellectually, and it’s another thing to apply it practically to your everyday life.
I challenge you to try this activity right now. It takes one minute. Pick an area of your life where you are seeing it from a negative perspective. Ask yourself “What went right?” and “What could I learn?” Now write out your answers in a short story form. This doesn’t mean you ignore problems, but you stop dwelling on them. You simply learn from them and move on. If you do this enough, you will train your inner-storyteller to work FOR you instead of against you.
Enjoy! Let me know if you try it and comment below on what happened.
Carla Rieger is the Director of The Artistry of Change Training Inc., an internationally recognized consulting firm helping speakers be their best. She helps you go from good to getting a STANDING OVATION. Or, she takes you from no presentation to a powerful presentation that massively increases your income and credibility. She particularly focuses on leading edge tools to bounce back from setbacks, build your self image and be your best at the front of the room.