The beast? That's the horrific inner voice that whispers in our heads - rubbish like this:
You're going to make mistakes... You're going to forget your words... Don't put yourself out on a limb, or they'll see all your flaws... Don't act confident or they'll think you're arrogant.... You lack credibility because you're too hairy / bald / fat / skinny / young / old / wrinkled / naff / pigeon-toed... (choose your own)
Recently I saw the perfect example of how to tame the beast.
Josh (name changed) came to one of my workshops on how to engage any audience. He delivered his first piece in front of the camera. He was so obviously good that the moment he finished, one of the others in the group said, "What are you doing here? You don't need any training." And the others nodded.
Now here's the fascinating bit. When the group used an analysis tool on Josh's video, they discovered that he had, in fact, made mistakes in content and broken some of my rules and suggestions. And they hadn't noticed at the time. That's so important, don't miss it.
They didn't notice his mistakes.
Whyever not? Let me summarise the fascinating conversation that followed. Josh was an example of how effective you can be when you have the courage to be imperfect. He was completely comfortable with us seeing him as a whole person, flaws and all. He is completely comfortable with who he is - a rare self-gift.
When you choose to become comfortable with who you are - flaws and all - the audience chooses to be comfortable with you and they either don't notice or don't care about your flaws. In other words, they don't care unless you make them care by worrying about it.
Josh did stay, but all he learned was a few superficial nuances. He already had what really matters, and what audiences admire.
Choose to have the courage to be imperfect and your imperfections become invisible.