Likeability is important. And so is credibility.

Self-deprecation isn’t cool.

I’ve seen lots of people give talks and I don’t know if it’s a British thing, but, they put themselves down. That first moment, that first impression could be good: you’ve smiled, made eye contact: fantastic. But if then the first words out of your mouth are, “Sorry everyone, this is going to be rubbish” or, “Sorry everyone, I’m not very good at this”, that’s not necessarily going to endear you to the audience. You might think that it does; “Oh, it’s lovable.” It’s not.

Confessing a weakness in a relatable, happy way is great. “I really struggled with this thing.” “I found this a bit tricky.” “I’m not amazing at this, let’s see what happens.” That’s fine; human connection, a bit of empathy. Lovely, relatable. Great. But, “Sorry everyone, this is going to be rubbish.” You might sort of expect them to be sympathetic and then say, “No, no, I’m sure it’s going to be great.” But I think part of them is going to ironically think “Is it? Oh, good.”

Please, don’t be self-deprecating. Maybe do it once. But as soon as there’s a pattern that forms, it’s going to damage what you’re doing and it’s going to damage your credibility. So please don’t do it. Self-deprecation is to be avoided at all costs for successful communication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *