How Perfect is Too Perfect?

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Over the last several weeks, I’ve been making “screencasts” for the new course I’ve developed for Capital Campaign Masters.

That’s the process by which you create slides and then record your voice over the slide show. The result is a little movie.

You can write out a script and read it as you record. Or you can just watch the slides and ad-lib.

To my ear, reading a script sounds a bit stilted. (I really don’t know how Gwen Ifill sounds so very real, even though I’m sure she’s reading her material.) But the ad-libbed approach, though lively, is full of the ums and ahs and embarrassing pauses that cry to be edited out.

Editing Yourself to Appear More Polished

Sit with headphones on and listen to yourself for a while and you’ll start to hear every flaw.

The little clicks of your tongue, the sounds of your breathing seem as major as the unbearable hesitations and stutters when you are searching for the right phrase.

That raises the question of how polished you want to be. With time and patience, you can edit out most of the hitches, making you far more perfect than you really are. The same can be said of almost anything you do in life. Extra effort leads to extra polish.

On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Polished Do You Want to Appear?

I’ve struggled to find the balance of flaw vs polish when I edit these little recordings.

A bit of stutter and hesitation make me feel and seem warmer and more inviting. But too much feels downright embarrassing.

How much polish is too much? How much is just right?

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is pretty flawed and 10 is fully polished, I choose somewhere around 7. Better than mediocre, but less than perfect.

But here’s the funny thing…

I think my degree of screencast editing pretty well matches the choices about flaw vs polish that I make in life.

My fingernails are often a bit ragged. My hair is sometimes out of place. And my make up… well, I don’t do that very carefully.

I like the sense of freedom, warmth and humor that comes with showing my imperfections. I actually choose a degree of imperfection though the choice isn’t conscious the way it is when I edit my screencast.

For me, a score of 6 or 7 on the flawed/perfection scale seems about right. Turns out that for me, anyway, imperfection is a choice, not a condition!

On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your score?

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How Important is it for You to Appear Perfect?

This week, watch the choices you make about how you present yourself. How much time, energy and money will you spend to appear perfect? How much does it matter to you that you don’t show your flaws? Do you feel more comfortable appearing perfect or do you feel better showing some imperfection?

After watching yourself for a while, assign yourself a number between one and ten on the flaw/perfection scale. Then ask yourself — is the extra effort really worth it?

Please share your number with us in comments below, or brush your hair, put on make up and sashay over to Facebook to reveal your number there.

Copyright: averess / 123RF Stock Photo

  • Great post, Andrea! I’ll bet you know that this has been a big issue in the animation industry. If they create an animated human that’s TOO perfect, everyone freaks out; the character loses its lovability and reminds us of… I don’t know, Invasion of the Body Snatchers? I love the imperfection = freedom for you. Those of us who are more uptight and self-critical have a lot to learn from your joyous and realistic attitude! :-)))

    • Andrea Kihlstedt

      Hey Jezra, what a wonderful and touching comment. I so appreciate it. I didn’t know about the animation industry. That’s interesting and makes great sense. Mind you, a piece of my would like to be perfect, but the rest of me says … screw it! or do I have to write that sc**w it? You know what I’d say if we were sitting together. 🙂

      Thanks Jezra. You are a wonderful friend.

    • dwmfrancis

      Jezra – Yes! While I’m slack jawed at how photorealistic CGI has become, I also worry that we can’t distinguish between real and imaginary any more.
      If the consequences of that are that movie-goers can now be exposed to ever growing amounts of datkness, death, terror and destruction, when will we all be walking Post Traumatic Stress Disorder cases?

  • Andrea, you made me smile. Your sense of priority and proportion is perfection itself. Like the song says, “Don’t change a hair for me…”

    And DWM, I found “hope” for your concern in a strange place. On a plane this week, I saw part of Superman vs. Batman over someone’s shoulder, and the animation was so primitive, so… pardon the expression, cartoonish… that there could never be any confusion about what it was. CGI apocalypse is not around the corner. (Though I wish people were better at telling reality from fakery in other areas, like politics.)