Last Thursday, I presented my first webinar on “How to Apply A3 Thinking in Everyday Life” (link here). It was a great experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. But prior to the webinar, I was afraid. After self-reflection, I believe the reasons are as follows:
- That pesky Imposter Syndrome was again raising its ugly head. Most of us have experienced it from time to time – thoughts that we aren’t smart enough, experienced enough, good enough. Intellectually, I know these are lies – although I have much to learn, I do have valuable experience to share with others that has proven to be helpful to them. Nevertheless, I struggled with the thought of “who the heck am I to be doing something like this?” I reminded myself of a quote from Marianne Williamson that has become an recent anthem for me – “Your playing small does not serve the world.” And so I resolved to forge ahead.
- Concern about what others would think of me. Perhaps they might perceive me as being full of myself to be acting like an such an expert? Or perhaps they would assume my motivations were selfish? However, I knew what fueled my desire to share my knowledge. It truly was to break down a complicated but effective process into simpler steps to make it accessible to more people. I was not being paid to do the webinar, nor was I seeking clients. I sincerely wanted to spread the message of continuous improvement.
- The usual performance anxiety. I have given dozens of high-stakes presentations throughout my career, and in my personal life I have even successfully testified in an difficult court hearing. However, the fear of failure was nearly paralyzing. As I have in the past, I reminded myself that feeling fearful does not mean that I have to be afraid. The only way that fear can be conquered is by facing it.
Despite these challenges, I did deliver the webinar and the feedback has been very positive. Most people commented that the presentation had good flow, was well-presented, and very engaging. A few people indicated they thought the example I used was too abstract, but given the nature of using a personal issue as a basis for an A3, it seemed unavoidable.
However, I am hungry to continuously improve myself, and so I dug deeper. Both self and peer evaluations guided me toward some areas to work on, such as:
- I have worked on reducing my usage of filler words like ‘um’ and ‘so…’ but I still did sometimes. I need to reduce that further.
- My voice needs improvement around projection and inflection. Regarding the former, this has always been a challenge for me as I am naturally soft-spoken. However, some training exercises to strengthen my voice would help. The latter is a more recent discover after listening to myself. It’s particularly difficult to inflect during a webinar with no audience to see and interact with, but I think I can train myself to inflect more.
- Integrating more humor would have been my preference. The subject matter made it challenging to do so, but if I manage to get classes laughing at my silly jokes while teaching Control Charts and Measurement System Analysis, surely I could have injected more humor into A3 thinking.
- It was brought to my attention that I prefaced my answers to the questions at the end with “That’s a good question…”. I think I did that more because I felt comfortable answering it, rather than because they were ALL good questions! In the future, I will be more selective with using that statement.
- Finally, a little more banter with the host in the beginning would have helped me to relax and set a lighter tone, instead of the formal approach I took. I could have joked that I was an introvert that was good at faking extroversion or something like that. It would have been would have helped connect with the audience.
I plan to do more webinars in the future (as a side note, please comment if there is a particular topic you’d be interested in), and I will definitely incorporate these lessons as I seek to constantly improve myself.