By the time many of us reach adulthood, the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ has been heard so many times it almost loses all meaning. But striving for ‘perfect’ comes with all sorts of problems. Aiming for perfection will almost always end in disappointment or feelings of inadequacy. Aspiring to make progress, however, is a much more achievable and effective goal.
I believe practice gives us the potential to be able to handle whatever life throws at us in and around our speaking event. It makes us resilient, able to think on our feet quickly, and respond effectively to issues without crumbling under pressure.
When it comes to public speaking, quality practice ensures you feel confident and relaxed and makes the whole experience a positive one for you and your listeners. If you think of your event as a performance, it becomes impossible to remove the importance of practice and preparation from the equation. Any musician, actor or performer spends hours upon hours repeating their performance, ensuring they know it inside out. Being prepared for public speaking is about much more than just knowing your words. It’s also about planning out all the details around the talk itself, to ensure you are fully prepared for all eventualities.
Our courses give you the edge when it comes to practice and preparation; from coaching you through essential preparation points in the lead up to an event, showing how to put together notes and ensuring there are no unexpected technical hitches that can’t be handled. We also help you to be aware of the specific effect adrenalin can have on you, and what you can do to negate this.
I was recently reminded of just how vital preparation and practice is, when I delivered a talk at a training day for Carbon Financial at the Dakota Hotel, South Queensferry.
As I set off from home, in good time for the event, my car alert started beeping at me – I realised I had a flat tyre. Immediately my heart sank, and the adrenalin kicked in. Questions started reeling around my head; will I make it on time? What if I can’t get the car fixed?
Thankfully after a quick phone call, our local mechanic was able to fix the puncture and get me safely back on the road within half an hour.
This incident reminded me of the value and necessity of some key lessons and practices that I teach every day, and implement myself ahead of each speaking engagement:
- I had carefully created content and notes for this group in advance.
- I had just finished a full rehearsal in the kitchen (right before the flat tyre incident!) meaning I had ironed out any tweaks and changes to wording and knew my timings were spot on.
- I know how adrenalin affects me, I’m constantly aware of it and know how to manage it in times of stress.
- I had left plenty of time for eventualities, including a full hour in the conference room to set up, check laptop and screen settings and do a mini rehearsal.
All of this ensured that even with this stumbling block, I arrived with plenty of time to set up, rehearse and deliver the session well.
Two key reminders I took away from my flat tyre incident:
- When the process of effective practice and preparation becomes second nature, it will one day be the thing that saves you from what could be a professional nightmare.
- Practice gives us potential – it makes us adaptable, resilient, and able to deliver a top-quality performance, regardless of any obstacles that come our way.
To find out more, please get in touch for a chat about how we can help you and your team be better prepared.
- 1-1 coaching
- Group Courses
- Maryanne speaks at company events – offsites
- The Agile Speaker – our digital offering