Your Presentation to Win; All Else is About Learning

Home » Presentations and Communication » Your Presentation to Win; All Else is About Learning

While the goal of most presentations is to “win’ – defined as getting agreement on the idea, service or product that you want, the reality is that failure is always an option. The key is how we construe the experience: do we use it to learn how to overcome the challenges that we didn’t navigate well enough to win, or do we seek to avoid responsibility for the way we handled the situation – often by finding an external source to “blame” for the result.

In Failure is an Option, the author notes that the key to success is not to equate failure with defeat or something that tarnish’s you effort – but instead to focus on how the experience contains the seeds of success – if you’re willing to learn from it. Unfortunately, that means overcoming barriers such as:

  • Fear of failure – prior negative experiences may have rocked your self-confidence leading you to be fearful of taking chances and experimenting with new ideas. 
  • Risk Aversion – viewing failures or mistakes as a sign of weakness leads to clinging to the status quo and  reluctance to try something new
  • Pride – Ego’s can get in the way of putting you in a risky position where embarrassment and negative judgments are possible
  • Lack of Trust – in a blame-oriented world, presenters may fear sharing their mistakes, to avoid others from using the information against them, even though others can benefit from learning from them
  • Stigma – fearing that mistakes will be used as a sign of incompetence, people don’t share – leading to lost opportunities to learn

Here’s one person’s experiences that might help you overcome these challenges: “I grew up in a house where individuality, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking were not only encouraged but expected. Whether it was schoolwork, music, or sports, my father reminded me that it was OK to fail. He said F.A.I.L stood for First Attempt In Learning.” May you win more by learning more!