I fucked up and did a talk about it.
Failure is a critical part of growth. FuckUpNight is a global movement where stories about business failure are shared monthly. At a recent FuckUpNight I had an opportunity to share a story of failure and what communicators can learn from it.
It had been a while since I prepped for a talk of this kind. Planning started months ago as I began to map out the narrative for the story I wanted to tell. Along the way I found myself conflating two ideas which resulted in a murky and unfocused narrative. While both stories are strong in their own right, trying to combine them into a single talk was weakening both of them. It can be difficult to cut bait and shelf a great story - I found myself trying to cling on to telling both, but I knew I had to let one go.
Once I’d zeroed in on the core story, it was time to shape the talk. This took several drafts. In an early draft, I was trying to build up to my fuck up moment. I found this to be taking too long and I feared I would lose the audience along the way. So I employed a storytelling technique to hook the audience in from the start and then build up to the that fateful moment.
When it came to practicing, I began rehearsing about 5-days out using techniques I’d refined when I would prep for hour-long keynote presentations to launch new products at BlackBerry. This helped me build confidence in the material so much so that I could focus on nailing my delivery instead of focusing on whether I’d freeze up when I took the stage.
For the most part the presentation went smoothly (save a glitch playing my video). I was thrilled to get positive feedback from other attendees - they loved the story and felt connected to it. It had been a while since I’d been on stage doing a talk but it felt great to be back!
If you want to learn the tools I used to plan, practice and deliver my FuckUpNight talk, join me at the next presentation skills masterclass series happening this September in Waterloo. Learn more and book your spot here.