The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

They Don’t Want Perfect, They Just Want You Present …

So last month, Paula Bloodworth, Martin Weigel and I presented our talk, ‘Strategy Is Constipated, Imagination Is The Laxative’, at Cannes.

We were excited to do it, but also nervous.

Not because we were saying anything particularly controversial, but because it’s Cannes and it’s a big thing – even if people like to hate on it.

Anyway, we did the presentation and it seemed to go down pretty well.

Lots of bloody lovely comments from people at the time and a bunch of exceedingly nice reviews about us over the next few days. [Followed by a few people hating on us … despite them apparently having not even seen it – like human Daily Mail, haha]

To be honest, from the very beginning we felt the audience wanted us to do well.

Rather than come out to a sea of people with their arms folded and an expression of ‘impress us’, we found a wonderfully warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Don’t know what we did to deserve it, but we got it.

OK, there were a few little niggles … for example someone forgot to turn a mic off in the control booth, so we heard someone talking over us for a bit and the IT people used a different computer to the one we had tested everything with the day before, so one of our fonts wasn’t uploaded resulting in 3 slides looking VERY messy, which was both annoying and off-putting … but overall, we left the presentation feeling very happy and very relieved.

Until we got to watch our performance back a few days later …

Oh my god!

We weren’t happy with so many things.

How we presented. What we said. What we forgot to say. What we wore.

Of course we thought the other 2 were perfect and we were the one who had let them down … but the fact of the matter is how we felt it went at the time, didn’t quite match how we felt it went when we reviewed our performance.

But that’s generally how it goes.

Adrenaline. Nerves. Audience reactions. Unexpected moments … all impact how you present, regardless how much you rehearse.

And we had rehearsed. Quite a few times … and it had been good, even though we never wanted to get to the point we were slick but soulless.

So we shouldn’t complain, because that’s exactly what happened.

And yet weren’t happy about it as we felt we had failed to present to the audience all the details and stories we had discussed over the previous weeks … to the point we almost forgot the utter privilege of being able to present our POV at Cannes to a roomful [including an overflow room] of generous people.

Fortunately, just before it got too late, I saw this comment from Courtney LaPlante about her bands performance at Download:

It was perfect.

An important reminder that people aren’t looking for perfect, they’re looking for you to be enjoying and believing what you’re doing … because if you do that, then they know you care as much as them and whatever happens next will always be memorable.

So thank you to WARC, Cannes and every one of those brilliant people who were in that room on June 22nd, 2023.

You will always be memorable.

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