Handling Tough Critics

Today’s question comes from Rona, and she asks “How do you bounce back after your self-confidence has been shattered?” I am going to answer this specifically in the context of a professional speaker and as it would pertain to a speaker who has had their confidence shattered.

If negative feedback ever shatters your confidence as a professional speaker here’s the best thing I can tell you: that in this profession, you have to have thick skin; alligator-like skin because the reality is even though you are not a celebrity as a speaker, unless I guess of course you are a celebrity speaker, but as a professional speaker who, you know, is the tier two level, you go to the events, you sell your products at your events and people don’t know you on a global scale as a “celebrity” so to speak like a musician or an actor or something like that, we actually still get judged the same way as celebrities do meaning people have a feeling or a belief that it’s okay to send us emails and tell us that they dint like your shoes or they didn’t like our shirt or they didn’t the way our hair was done or they didn’t appreciate a joke that we told, and they’ll give all sorts of feedback.

So, what I would say is this; and it is almost preventative maintenance more than repairing, I’ll give you some repair advice here in a second – is develop some thick skin and realize that you are not your product. So in other words, when I get up and I speak I realize that there is Topher the speaker and there is Topher the human and those two people are totally different and that doesn’t make me any less authentic when I’m up on stage. I just realize that that is in many respects a performance. It’s not an artificial performance but it’s not who I am. You know just like every person has a personality that they have when they go to work or personality they have when they are at home, well you know what? When I go to work I am on stage. I’ve got my “work attitude” or “work mentality” which is different than my “chilling out and relaxing and having a great day at home” personality.

So that’s what I am talking about in terms of two different people. So when they’re critiquing you as the speaker, you have to realize that’s a product and disassociate yourself from that. Don’t think of yourself as a human being, think of yourself as a product and as soon as you can think of yourself as a product instead of being a human being, what’ll happen is that you’ll be able to see their perspective and say “You know what? You’re right, that product did not do so well that day. It wasn’t very desirable.” And then all of a sudden you’ll be able to kind of look at it from an unemotional standpoint and realize that you always have to improve your product lines just like every company does in the world. So, I hope that helps Rona and I hope that helps for anybody else that’s out there and wondering how to handle the emotional traumas. Now, if the critique, by the way, or the shattering of your confidence came from you just blowing it up on stage, same thing. Realize that you didn’t blow it, the product blew it, okay, number one. But then number two, make sure you don’t blow it.

Sign up for the free eBook www.bulletproofspeaking.com. If you really want to impact the masses and you really want to make an impact, then you have to become a professional speaker and you get the proper training to do so and professional speakers don’t choke and don’t blow because they have rehearsed it so many times that there is no possible way that they can choke; I guess that is kind of what I am saying. It’s possible, but it’s unlikely. I hope you enjoyed this today. Until next time take care. Dare to dream and make each day an epic adventure.

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