Doing the Bob Dole

We all have “tics,” little things that we do, little habits. Some presentation trainers tell people to get rid of their tics, but tics aren’t always that bad.

Take, for example, Bob Dole. Bob Dole was a famous United States Senator in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

He fought in World War II. During the war he hurt his right hand, and it never healed completely. For the rest of his life, he couldn’t use the hand much. He felt a little self-conscious about it, and so, in public, he almost always held a pen:

No one says, “That Bob Dole, he could have been great, but he held a pen all the time.” To be a great speaker, or a great leader, you don’t have to be perfect. Don’t spend so much energy trying to get rid of all your tics that you forget to spend your energy where it’s needed most: connecting with your people.

Be aware of your tics, and yes, get rid of the worst ones. But your job is not to be perfect. It’s to connect with your people, to connect with your audience. Tics are only a problem when they interfere with that connection.

Related Posts

The point

The point

In this episode of The White Rabbit podcast... https://open.spotify.com/episode/1cn5bJITDjfxZBOjUeJoSE?si=708e2514c8354bef ...Alper makes an interesting point, that the value of a presentation is not in convincing people to support you, it's in reassuring your...

The right questions

The right questions

99% of my clients are not native speakers of English. (Fun fact: Did you know that, by far, most speakers of English are not native speakers of English?) And, quite dependably, every single one of those clients asks at some point, "How is my English," or some other...

Stalk the board

Stalk the board

This is a great article, it made me so excited and I jumped for joy many times upon reading it! One of my favorite points it makes: Know the board members. Not on average. Every. Single. One. They're all different. I call it "stalk the board"...