Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you will learn how to overcome perfectionism.

We all make mistakes at work!

Listen in on today’s episode as Lindsay interviews Don Colliver.

He will share with you his three-step framework.

You can follow it to avoid losing momentum.

Don Colliver and perfectionism

Don Colliver is a former clown and a former Blue Man performing artist.

He now trains Fortune 500 professionals in public speaking.

The Blue Man Group is a performing arts exhibit and performance.

The key topic of today’s episode is perfectionism.

Don has done a lot of work around coaching professionals on how to avoid getting paralyzed when in front of an audience.

He mentions that perfectionism is personal to him.

The need for authenticity

His mom died a few years back and he had to speak at the memorial.

He had to give a speech about experiences and memories shared with his mom and family members.

As he was rehearsing, he knew that he would not be able to finish the speech without tearing up.

He talked to his friend who was also a professional speaker about what he should do because he knew he was going to choke up.

His friend advised him to be his 100% authentic self.

He did cry and it was a beautiful speech.

People came up to him and thanked him for delivering such a good message.

His emotion enabled the audience to connect to his authenticity and vulnerability.

Authenticity is more powerful than perfection

When striving for perfectionism, always remain authentic and true to yourself.

Gone are the days when every speech has to be formal and flawless.

It is difficult to connect with a speaker that is not showing their true self by being calculated and posed.

This creates a wall between the speaker and the audience.

Authenticity is of great value in connecting with your audience.

Don’t be stuck when making a mistake

Many individuals are reluctant to perform or speak in public.

This is largely due to the fear of making a mistake.

Having all eyes on you makes it feel more catastrophic to make a mistake.

Don has formulated a framework for anyone to overcome the fear of making a mistake during presentations or at work.

He shares the acronym ATM.

#1: A – Acknowledge the mistake

When you stumble, acknowledging your mistake is the first step.

If you struggle with grammar or have trouble understanding idioms, remember that it matters more to you than the person listening to you.

Everyone makes mistakes so don’t be ashamed to admit them.

It clears the air and removes the awkwardness of stumbling.

#2: T – Take responsibility

The next step is to take responsibility and show you are in control of the situation.

If you encounter technical difficulty, admit it and reassure your audience that it is being addressed.

It can also be a good opportunity to use the mistake you made as an example in your presentation.

You can make it a sample of the material you are presenting to your audience.

#3: M – Move forward

Lastly, after the first two steps, you must continue on to your next point.

This helps the audience move on from the stumble as well.

This last step is a must to keep the flow going.

You never want the mistake to derail you or cause you to stop.


Keep practicing so you can get better at public speaking and presenting.

It is important to keep your audience engaged and connected.

You can find more resources from Don Colliver by visiting:

You can also get a copy of his book on Amazon which is entitled: “Wink: Transforming Public Speaking with Clown Presence”

Don’t let the fear of making mistakes stop you from being in control of your presentations at work or public speaking opportunities.

Be confident and know that your performance will be amazing!

Are you afraid of speaking in public?

Share in the comments below what has helped you overcome that fear.

Don’s Bio:

Don Colliver teaches popular public speaking courses internally at Google and around the world, leads improv, clown, and sketch comedy classes for the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre and speaks professionally for Fortune 500 companies including Adobe, Cisco, and Medtronic. Don has performed with the Blue Man Group, toured internationally as a theatrical Clown for contemporary circus Spiegelworld, and is listed in the Cirque du Soleil performer database. Don’s mission is to help every communicator profoundly impact their audience through the power of authenticity, listening, and play.

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