This is one of those things that’s probably a pet peeve of mine because I use to do it myself, but I figured I would share what I was told during my performance days.
I’ve seen this phenomenon a bunch, a performer or presenter gets done, an audience member comes up and says something along the lines of “Great job,” the complimented responds with something like:
- “Oh I totally screwed up”
- “No, I didn’t really do anything”
- “No, I thought it went awfully”
Invariably there are two things that drive this:
1. The presenter/performer is so caught up in their own self examination, that they are being hyper critical and sharing it with the complementer.
2. The presenter/performer is concerned about the appearance of humility.
Both ignore a greater truth in the interaction: Someone has said something nice to you, and you are immediately telling them they are wrong! Even if they don’t directly perceive this, it can leave them with a bad taste in their mouth.
So what do you do? Say “Thank you,” that’s it. Leave the self examination stuff where it belongs, in your head. If you are concerned with your ego, accept and expand the compliment: “Thank you; I have to say the audience was really great, you guys asked really great questions.”
It’s a silly little thing, but it can have a big impact on how you are perceived.