“That! I made a few errors and thought I did bad.”
How would you feel if you were the person giving the praise? Maybe, wished you had not given the praise.
Last Saturday, I was the Contest Master (in charge) of the District 22 Toastmasters Conference. It was my job to put together the contest, introduce the contestants, and run the the contest in front of 100+ people.
It went very well. Afterwards, an experienced Toastmaster of 20+ years came up to me and said, “Arlen, good job on the contest. That was one of the best run contests I have seen.”
That felt good. How do you respond when someone says something similar to you?
I kept in mind these 5 tips on how to accept verbal praise.
Remember that Verbal Praise Means You Did Something Well
The fact that someone took time to say, “Good job” is a sign your work paid off. The verbal praise is a mini reward for creating excellent results.
Jim Key, who spoke at the conference, said “There is no such thing as accidental excellence.”
It takes time, energy, and practice to have a good performance or presentation.
Here are few items that helped this contest go well.
- I mentally rehearsed my opening lines many times.
- I tried to be remarkable by adding humor and giving a twist to how the instructions are normally done.
- I use customized humor at the end of the contest.
- I spent an hour researching and coming up with humorous lines for the contest.
- I acted confident with tips from Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™
My point is not to brag, but to show that a good presentation takes work and will likely draw verbal praise.
Enjoy it. It’s payment for a job well done.
Remember You Could Have Done Better
Though I felt and was told the presentation went very well, I have made a list of several items that I wished I had done different and plan to change for next time.
- I neglected to publicly acknowledge the sound man.
- When interviewing the contestants, I could have customized questions for each.
- In most contests they announce the winners right after the contest. In this case it was going to be after the banquet dinner. Though it was in the program, I should have mentioned it from the stage so people were clear on when the announcement would come.
I am not sitting here beating myself up for the minor tweaks. The reason I mention these is to give an illustration how even in victory, there are always ways to be more excellent.
One of my mentor keeps telling me, “Progress, not perfection.”
Remember at Least One Person Liked Part of Your Presentation
Several years ago I read, “2% of the audience will think it was the best presentation they ever heard and 2% will think it’s the worst. The reality is somewhere in between.”
This may hurt the ego, but just because one person said “Good Job” only means they liked part of the presentation. Your intro may have been awesome, but they felt bored through the rest of the performance. The verbal praise was on the first five minutes and not on the sleep inducing section. 🙂
Flashes of excellence do not mean the entire presentation was 5 star. A wise performer understands their are always ways to improve.
Remember to Always Acknowledge the Praise and Accept it
Imagine the following scenario.
After a presentation someone approaches with a fresh hot apple pie. They hand it to you and say, I enjoyed the presentation so much that I am giving you this apple pie.
You grab it and shove right in their face!
Does it frequently happen? Yes.
How many times have we done or seen the following happen:
Audience member: Great Job on the presentation.
Performer: That? I really had on off day today and that was not much.
How does the person giving the praise feel? Like you have rejected their praise and thrown in back in their face.
Why do performers respond this way? Sometimes, it’s because they want more praise. They want the person to reassure them and say, “Yes, it was really good.”
How can we accept praise?
Acknowledge and reflect
Thank you, that’s very kind of you.
Appreciate it. I had a great team to help me. They will be glad you noticed.
Doing this will make the person giving the praise feel honored and glad they gave you the praise. It is the least you can do.
Be excellent in your presentations and people will give verbal praise. When they do, keep these verbal praise tips in mind.