The Sign Language Interpreter at the Mandela Memorial… caused quite a stir. Apparently he’d been reported before many times, but they still booked him.
Many people including other speakers, say “fake it until you make it!” and “you can do anything!” and I understand why they say that, to a point (although I’ll never say that without qualification in one of my talks – I like to give evidence for my motivation).
But let’s be clear – you can’t be confident and then have no skill at all in the chosen task, it just doesn’t work. It’s not fair to anyone including yourself, and it’s a very short term view.
Will this guy ever get a gig again? I think not, certainly not in sign language interpretation.
This especially applies to presentations, don’t fool yourself into an ugly arrogance that you can do something when you can’t! Instead learn the skills and practise, practise, practise, chip away until the experience you gain kicks in. You’ll get there in the end, but it will probably take you longer than you think.
I do a lot of presentation skills training and after a day with me, people say they are more confident than before but at the end of the sessions I always say to them – volunteer for every speaking opportunity from now on, get out there and speak, the experience will build your long term confidence and with the right coaching will make you a great speaker.
Be confident, yes!
Push yourself, yes!
But, don’t be falsely confident or even so arrogant that you forget to learn the skills needed.
No one likes a fake, be your true confident self, it’s all we’ve got, and it’s enough.