Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced on Monday that he wouldn’t run for re-election, which increases speculation that the popular Republican will make another bid for the presidency in 2016.
Perry’s last attempt to win the Oval Office proved to be a quick flare. He entered late into the Republican primary, but quickly became the favorite among conservatives. However, he fell as quickly as he rose, and this is largely blamed on his poor debate performance. Here are a few public speaking and presentation techniques that Perry fell short on in 2012, and will definitely need to improve on if he hopes to have a shot in 2016. These are tips everyone should consider when giving a professional presentation.
This happens to the best of us, especially on the national spotlight, with vicious pundits watching you like hawks, waiting for you to fumble. Performance anxiety can come in a variety of strengths, but it all must be tackled the same way. Unfortunately for Perry, he seemed to have gotten stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle of failure during the 2012 debates.
This theory of getting caught in a cycle of failure makes performance anxiety get worse and worse, because the fear of failure increases as failure becomes more common. Perry got caught in this cycle, and because of this, his first debate flop resulted in several others.
For those that suffer from performance anxiety when speaking in public, the important thing is to treat every speech on its own. Corporate presentations can be just as daunting as a high-pressure debate, but don’t let past failures haunt you, just look forward and make sure you’re prepared.
Showing Up Unprepared
Perry’s most memorable gaffe in the 2012 debates came when asked what government agencies he would cut if elected president. He said there were three he would cut: Commerce, Education, and—he blanked. He fumbled and apologized for not remembering the third organization, at least until 15 minutes later, when he chimed in that it was the Department of Energy he had been trying to remember.
It’s clear that performance anxiety played a part in this, but regardless, this was a response he shouldn’t have to think about. Adequately preparing for a presentation is vital, especially if performance anxiety is a factor for you. Know your speech backwards and forward, and you’ll breathe much easier.
Controlling His Emotions
Keeping your composure while in the public spotlight—during a business presentation, a wedding toast, anything—is imperative if you want your words to carry any weight to your audience. During the debates, Perry’s disdain for several of his opponents was apparent, and some of his interactions with them devolved to less-than-presidential bickering. His interactions with fellow Texan Ron Paul during the 2012 debates seemed to test his temper the most, and he perhaps handled himself less than gracefully, even going so far as having some Ron Paul supporters accuse Perry of having assaulting the elderly libertarian during a commercial break.
Not every presentation or speech will be given to a dream audience, and there will always be complications leading up to or during your presentation that may fluster you, but it’s important to carry yourself well, because losing your cool in an investor presentation isn’t going to impress anyone.
Only time will tell if Governor Perry can learn from his mistakes, not let his past failures get to him, and prove to the plethora of naysayers that he can handle himself on a national spotlight.