So is the title of the Queen song. Inspired by the New Zealand movie Love Birds which made me laugh and cry at the same time I’ve had a serious and sudden desire to listen to all things Queen. No, not the head of state but the Freddie Mercury one. Doug, played by Rhys Darby gets dumped by his long-time girlfriend ‘cos he’s too boring. A fanatic of Queen, the movie features lots of Queen and great shots of an Auckland you’d be proud to call home.
Yesterday, I helped a group of Masters students get ready for a presentation today. Everyone is winding them up – the client, themselves, the other groups – and it seemed that their 20 minutes of fame followed by 5 minutes of Q&A was an Everest event. Practicing the words, understanding the jargon, suggestions to drug one of the panelists by their helpful lecturer all combined to raise anxiety. Actually they’re quite confident sounding so I coached them around being themselves, not reading stuff out (we can do that ourselves you know!) and making a stand: What actually are you recommending? (a surprisingly common oversight).
Yesterday at a senior management meeting someone forgot what they wanted to say “well I can’t say it now can I!” or something, he said. Exactly. So what? We laughed and realised our own imperfections. Yes we’ve all forgotten something we really thought we wanted to say, or do. Damn, forgot to make a recommendation on what we were asked!
Can you forget to be yourself? Yes, it seems, and usually by people who aren’t. Advice advice advice about this, that, tactics, long winded rants about what you NEED to do, all by people who are supposedly leading groups to grow.
Actually they’ve probably got no idea about what the motives and preferences of the people being presented to are - just throw out some stuff to them, say lots of technical stuff, get ready to wiz them with technical jargon, make sure you stand tall and confident. Practice the words and get them right.
What a load of shit. Be yourself, engage from what you know – if someone advising you about a presentation doesn’t have anything insightful to say about the people you’re talking to, find someone else to help you. And if you can’t, who cares, trust yourself. What’s the worst thing that can happen? People will see the real you in all your frailties and with any sort of luck, you’ll forget something you meant to say. And then you’ll have ‘em.
Once you’re going then you’re unstoppable.
Don’t stop me now!