by Peter Watts
I became aware of a damp patch.
Inevitable with a Victorian cottage. Moisture slowly creeping up an outside wall. Tell-tale watermarks on plaster in the hall.
Months of contractor confusion led to my hiring an independent surveyor to take charge. He promptly nailed the source of all my problems as being a tiny pipe, steadily and slowly dip drip dripping beneath a floor.
Seemingly tiny little leaks of self-esteem can have exactly the same effect on our confidence.
The most damaging are those hidden beneath the floor-boards of our bravado; the inner comments we make to ourselves when offered the chance to take on new challenges.
- “I’m no good at x”
- “I’ll screw it up if I dare to have a go at y”
- “I’ve not got what it takes for z”
Over months and years, those drips become a damp-spreading mantra, soaking foundations. Our confidence water-logs from within.
My surveyor told me that to identify a hidden leak it’s important to listen both to what you can hear, and to what you can’t.
Listen for noises that shouldn’t be there (in my watery case, an almost inaudible hissing sound), and then listen for the sounds that are missing, such as the high pressure surge of water rushing through a healthy system.
- As a presenter, do you suffer a low level hiss of negative internal criticism?
- After speaking, how clearly can you hear your that healthy surge of success?
Maintaining a constructive inner-dialogue is essential presenter care-and-maintenance. Self-coaching can be one way to do this, but sometimes problems require the help of an external expert for true diagnosis.
Professional coaching assists presenters at all stages of their careers, in the same way that my professional surveyor was able to help me.
It’s well worth taking the time to fix those little leaks.
At the end of the day, nobody enjoys a presentation from a damp-patch.