Perfection is not connection

richard-wilkinsToday I had the privilege of meeting up with my great friends and inspirational speakers Richard & Liz.     We talked about all sorts of things to do with success, self-development and happiness and as ever, I left with a whole load of exciting new ideas and insights.

I could write several posts on the outcomes of this meeting, but I just want to share one with you today.    We were talking about the ability of effective communicators to engage and connect with their audience.   Richard has an uncanny knack of coming up with a pithy, simple statement that is just bursting with meaning.

Richard made the statement that “perfection isn’t the same as connection” and this got me thinking.

Many presenters and speakers waste their time trying to create the “perfect” presentation and forget that the key to effective communication is connection, not perfection.  In fact, perfection tends to get in the way of connection.

Liz demonstrated this with a little story about a story that she heard on a personal; development CD recently.  The “guru” was telling the story of how a lady delegate had come up to him at the end of the break, She asked “How can you possibly be happy all the time?”  Surely you must get just a little depressed occasionally?”   To which the guru answered “No, I never get down any more.”   The immediate effect of this reply was to create a barrier between the lady and the speaker.   How could she possibly connect with someone who was so perfect!

Now I don’t know about you, but I have yet to meet anyone who is that perfect.  We all have our down times, but that doesn’t make us bad people, it just makes us human.   If we are going to connect with other people, we need to be able to be authentic and honest.

One of the best ways of achieving connection is to share some of your own “story” with your audience.   And I don’t mean just the good stuff either.   Let’s be real, and by sharing our imperfections connect with the rest of the human race, who have imperfections too.

  1. Jo Jameson on 21/02/2008 at 00:47

    Hi I love this post so much! You’re so right, perfection is a huge turn off – yet so many presenters beat themselves up because they don’t measure up to their own idea of what it is. Audiences are people and they want to connect with other people – not robots or unattainable models of ‘perfection’. Making connections is where the real public speaking gold lies, and that happens through honesty and integrity.

  2. Lisa Braithwaite on 12/02/2008 at 02:37

    Ugh. Perfection is not interesting at all. I want my audience and clients to believe that confidence and success in public speaking are attainable, and the best way to show it is by demonstrating that no one is perfect. Not even the pros.

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