What do you think constitutes perfection in public speaking? Is it saying every word perfectly without a mistake? Is it never losing your train of thought or emphasizing a particular word in a particular sentence or smiling at the right moment?

There is no such thing as perfection in public speaking because perfection is subjective. What I may think is perfect may not be perfect in your eyes. Yes, you can type a page perfectly and you can have a perfect score on a math test; but, in a situation like acting, musical performances, sports, and public speaking, the best you can hope to achieve is excellence.

There was a great pianist of the 20th century by the name of Arturo Rubenstein who was known for making mistakes. While mistakes can be edited out for recordings, there are some works of this man which have one or two mistakes in them because he was unable to play the notes correctly even for the recording. What made his music so sublime? Or better yet, why was he considered one of the greatest pianists of the last century?

Because he made music. Would you rather listen to a skilled pianist who plays each note perfectly but has no ‘music,’ no expression in his performance or would you prefer to hear someone like Rubenstein who has a musical gift even though he/she hits a couple of wrong notes? I’d prefer the latter.

The same can be said for public speaking. Who would you rather hear? Someone who is so concerned with ‘perfection’ that he rotely spits out a pile of words at you or someone who looks you in the eye and communicates his message to you?

If you:

    1. know your material (really know it),
    2. make eye contact with your audience,
    3. speak with color which is the life, the emotion, and the animation in your voice, your facial expression and your body language,
    4. believe in yourself, and
    5. remember to breathe before you run out of air,

you will give an excellent delivery even if you make a mistake or two. Incidentally, audiences are not listening for mistakes. Mistakes are made every hour of every day on the radio and TV by those delivering the news. In most cases, however, you are not aware of it. One of the reasons is because the broadcaster does not dwell on it. He/she corrects it and moves on.

Instead of focusing on that which is unattainable, strive to do an excellent job because excellence is something you can achieve.

Author's Bio: 

he Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. For more information on upcoming workshops, visit Nancy's Voice Training Workshops.