The best athletes do it. The most accomplished musicians do it. The most famous actors do it. Even Steve Jobs did it. What is “it”?
What a concept.
True pros practice—a lot– before performing. That’s how they get to be successful. It is stunning to see so many presenters who think they can succeed without meaningful practice. I see this all the time and then people wonder why they aren’t winning more business.
- Meaningful Practice is NOT getting together with your team beforehand and deciding who will present which slides
- Meaningful Practice is NOT mumbling through your PPT a few minutes before arriving at the meeting
- Meaningful Practice is NOT pulling an old presentation off the shelf and thinking you will make it work when you get there
- Meaningful Practice is NOT presenting a deck sight unseen put together by someone else
- Meaningful Practice is NOT reviewing your slides only once or twice
“You can’t win any game unless you are ready to win.” Connie Mack
If you don’t really understand this, then you will never be really outstanding.
Understand Practice is Time Well Spent
“You can’t look good and get better at the same time.” Anonymous.
To find the time, BOOK the time to practice your presentation, just as you would book an appointment with a client. Present it out loud several times to ensure it is as good as you think it can be.
Practice the Right Things
“Great performers isolate remarkably specific aspects of what they do and focus on just those things until they are improved; then it’s on to the next aspect.” Geoff Colvin (Fortune writer & Talent study expert)
- Your opening (Crisp? Tailored to Listener? Wordsmithed?)
- Your key take-away message (Concise? Memorable?)
- The benefits, examples, stories, metaphors and numbers (Relevant? Engaging?)
- Your transitions (Do they tell a story? Do they build momentum for action?)
- Your Summary (Crisp? Memorable?)
- The Next Step (Appropriate? Specific?)
- All technology (Video? Sound? Other?)
- Answers to expected questions
Make Practice a Corporate Best Practice
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
In my view, no one should be allowed to visit a client with an important presentation before practicing it in real time in front of another colleague.
Vince Lombardi said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” Extra eyes and ears on your presentation will quickly identify potential weak spots and opportunties for further impact, which will likely lead to greater success.
Chump or Champion?
“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” Billie Jean King
Champions never become complacent. They are constantly learning and improving. Why should that be different for presenters?
Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!
Practice with a Pro!
Call today for individual coaching or team workshops and learn how to turn information that tells into a story that sells. 212-876-1875 email@example.com
“Anne and I recently worked together on a speech I gave at a large conference. She helped me turn a series of somewhat interesting points into an expertly crafted, compelling and actionable story. Together, we built a storyline with attention-grabbing headlines. We worked and re-worked the language, making sure every word was important. Finally, Anne coached me on the delivery. The result was so exciting – I’ve never been so well received in a speech before. Thank you, Anne!” Kate Griffin, Vice President, CFED.org