I was a guest speaker at a meet-up last week, run by the League of Extraordinary Women.
The MC of the evening got up and announced: “And our next speaker tonight is Christina Canters. Her business is called…The C Word!”
There was a ripple of giggles throughout the venue, and someone quickly shouted out “The C Method!”
Without losing a beat, the MC said:
“Oh, The C Method, sorry! But hey, ‘The C Word’ could be a fantastic idea for your next business!”
We all had a laugh, I got up to speak, and we went on to have a super fun evening.
I share this story because I was incredibly impressed with how the MC handled herself after making a ‘mistake’.
Most of us are afraid of public speaking because we’re shit scared of messing up in front of an audience, whether it be having a mental blank or saying the wrong thing.
But if you can make a mistake and quickly recover from it in a way that isn’t awkward – you’re winning. Not only will it make you more confident in your speaking abilities, you also make it less uncomfortable for everyone else.
And the best way to do this?
Stop caring about what others think of you.
That’s right. Stop caring about whether they’ll think you’re stupid or inarticulate or naive or under-qualified.
Just do your thing, and be you. Because if you don’t, it’s gonna hold you back. When you care too much about what others think, it will hold you back from being an engaging speaker. It will hold you back from having great conversations. And it will hold you back from taking action and achieving something truly great.
So don’t let it cripple you. In this episode of the podcast, I go deeper into 4 ways to help you NOT care what others think of you. Click the player above to listen.
How to not care what others think of you
1. Be comfortable with failing
Know that it might, or at some point, will happen. You will make a mistake. You will mess up your words. You will have an awkward conversation.
The more important thing is HOW you deal with it. Henry Ford once said said: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” So when you do mess up, use it as an opportunity to learn for next time.
Once you accept that you WILL mess up at some point, it takes a huge weight off your shoulders.
2. Be interested in you
I have people write to me saying: “Christina, I’m afraid to have conversations because I’m afraid that people won’t think I’m interesting or that I’ll have interesting things to say.”
If you want people to find you interesting, YOU need to be INTERESTED in what you’re talking about. When you speak with enthusiasm, your energy will be infectious.
I always say that if you want someone else to be 100% enthused or excited, YOU need to be at 150%! Think of a super-enthused fitness instructor. Aren’t you much more motivated when they are bouncing off the walls?
3. Accept that you don’t know everything
You have your area of expertise, and other people have theirs. You can’t possibly know everything about everything, so why should others expect you to?
I don’t watch the new or read the newspaper, so I can be a little slow on world events. I used to feel inadequate for not staying up to date, but now I accept that my priorities are different.
So I ask people “What’s happening in the world today?”
If someone says “Didn’t you hear? This thing happened!” Instead of pretending that I know, I simply reply: “No, I don’t watch the news. Tell me about it!”
Instances like this are a great opportunity for them to TEACH you about what they know. Most people are happy to oblige and will feel chuffed that someone was interested enough to ask.
4. Perfect is boring.
If you want to stop caring what people think about you, it is critical that you stop trying to be perfect, or the version of you that you THINK other people want you to be.
Embrace your imperfections, your quirks, your (as Robin Williams put it) “spark of madness”.
The people I personally admire are those who fully embrace who they are and don’t care whether they’re perfect or not.
They take pride in how they look, but they don’t care about how other people might expect them to look. They say what’s on their mind, without caring about what others expect them to say. And they like what they like, because they like it, not because everyone else likes it.
Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters said: “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you f*cking like something, like it.”
Who cares if it’s not considered “cool”? If it’s cool to you, then that’s all that matters!
So next time you’re about to go to an event or meetup, or you’re about to give a presentation, do NOT attempt to give a perfect speech or elevator pitch. The imperfections are going to make it interesting, because the imperfections are YOU.
Perfect is boring. Love your imperfections and messiness, and other people will love them about you too.
Big thanks to the League of Extraordinary Women for having me speak – and for inspiring this episode! If you’re a passionate female entrepreneur, check out this inspirational community and the incredible events they’ve got going on.