‘Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.’ Malcolm Gladwell
- Put in hours of gruelling practice
- Plan on spending more time rehearsing every portion of your presentation
Glimpse behind the magic curtain
- He is single-minded, almost manic, in his pursuit of quality and excellence
What Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, and Winston Churchill have in common
- Star performers refine their skills through deliberative practice
- Set specific goals, ask for feedback, and continually strive to improve over the long run
- Churchill .. prepare in the days before a big parliamentary speech, practising quips or parries against any number of possible interjections. He practised so thoroughly that he seemed to be speaking extemporaneously.
- Practice is essential, particularly if you want to sound spontaneous.
- Jobs makes an elaborate presentation look easy because he puts in the time.
Ten thousand hours to mastery
- There are no “naturals”.
Flushing away $25,000
- If you spend money and time on a presentation – and time is money – you owe it to yourself to practice, practice, and practice some more!
Make video your best friend
Video training tips
- Watching ourselves is not pleasant but is essential; find objective friends to offer honest feedback
- Use an external, clip-on microphone instead of the built-in microphone standard on all camcorders. The voice sounds louder, clearer, and more resonant.
- Eye contact
- Notes are to glance to find the place
- Body language
- Fidget, rock or distracting habits?
- Body language and verbal delivery account for the majority of the impression you leave on your listeners
- Filler words – to remove
- Um, ah, you know ?
- Awareness is more than 90% of the solution!
- Ask for feedback
- Tap the glass
- Record yourself, and play it back in the presence of others
- Vocal delivery
- Appear vibrant, enthusiastic, and genuinely thrilled to be sharing your story?
- We all enjoy being around people with energy
- Passion in the voice, bounce in the step, and a smile on the face
- Energy makes a person likeable, and likeability is a key ingredient in persuasive communications
- Eye contact
Leave your comfort zone
- Where am I on the energy scale?
- Break out of your comfort zone – ham it up; raise your voice; use broad gestures; put a big smile on your face
Five steps to rehearsing ‘off-the-cuff’ remarks
- Identify the most common questions likely to be raised.
- Place the questions into ‘buckets’ or categories.
- Create the best answer you have for the category. And this is critical – the answer must make sense regardless of how the question is phrased. You must avoid getting pulled into a detailed discussion based on the wording of the question.
- Listen carefully to the question, and identify a key word – a trigger – that will help you isolate the correct bucket from which to pull to your answer.
- Look the person in the eye and respond with confidence.
- Kissinger: what questions do you have for my answers
Best antidote to nerves
- Relentless preparation is the single best way to overcome stage fright:
- Know what you’re going to say
- When you’re going to say it
- How you’re going to say it
- Go from “me” to “we” – shift the focus to what your product or service means to the lives of your listeners, and be confident in your preparation
- The more you practice, the less nervous you will be
- Superstar performers in all fields leave nothing to chance
- Practice, practice, and practice some more. Don’t take anything for granted. Review every slide, every demo, and every key message. You should know exactly what you’re going to say, when you’re going to say it, and how you’re going to say it.
- Record your presentation. Spend a couple of hundred bucks on a camcorder and record yourself. You don’t need to record the entire presentation. The first five minutes should give you plenty of information. Look for distracting body language and verbal tics, or fillers. When possible, review the video with someone else.
- Use the bucket method to prepare for tough questions. You will find that most lines of questions will fall into one of seven categories.