Practice with a Purpose

While attending a business meeting in San Francisco, I met a human resources executive who told me she still gets nervous when it’s time for her to deliver a presentation. It wasn’t debilitating in her case. But it still bothered her and she was in search of a strategy to conquer it.

The first thing I tell people is to get plenty of practice, and walk into your venue with a positive attitude and a healthy dose of confidence. Remember, the audience decides to attend because of you and your reputation, expertise, or provocative viewpoint.

She took the question one step further, saying she practices quite a bit. Yet those nerves still rear their ugly head. This is where your communications training consultant really starts to earn his keep.

New skills

Your trusted advisor should be equipped to analyze your practice habits. He should guide you toward answers to questions like:

  • Do you rehearse often enough?
  • Are you paying attention to practicing your opening and conclusion?
  • What about getting comfortable with any props or slides you intend to use?
  • Do you take your practice time seriously enough?
  • Are you rehearsing in front of others who can help critique you?
  • Have you taken advantage of an organized training program with your advisor?
  • Do your record your sessions to video or audio?
  • Do you dedicate the time to reviewing details on the recording (hint: If your consultant fails to pause and review the tape frequently, you will miss many of the subtle nuances that are key to improvement)?
  • Do you maintain a positive frame of mind throughout your rehearsals?

What other suggestions have you found useful in your own preparation efforts?



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