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Practice, practice, practice!

One of the biggest mistakes I've seen in public speakers and leaders is that they just don't practice anymore. Maybe they practiced one time and they stopped (?) I've been asking around my friends and colleagues and I ask them "Did you practice for your session?" and the answer is 90% of the time "nope"... and reasons are:

"I didn't have time to practice, I have so many things to do!""I didn't think it was necessary I already know the topic.""I think is better if I don't practice to show the true me, and let my authenticity shine throughout my presentation."

Hmmmmm, let's call these above "myths" and now, let's uncover the "truths":

"I didn't have time to practice, I have so many things to do!" - What it really means: people are not important enough for me to prioritize properly and dedicate some time to do things with quality.

Suggestion: Show utmost respect to your audience by practicing. It's about perfect practice and continuous improvement. Build time for a quick role-play as part of your preparation ritual.

"I didn't think it was necessary I already know the topic." - What it really means: you are so arrogant about knowing your topic, that you forgot that one thing is to know and another thing is to be able to communicate, to convey a message, to facilitate, to evoke feelings, to help others discover themselves, to bring the best of others during your presentations. So not because you are good at what you do, it means you can just "wing it". Guess what your audience can tell when you are not prepared.

Suggestion: yes YOU the "I got this", please practice, because we ALL have things to improve. The best of the best continue practicing, why wouldn't you?

"I think is better if I don't practice to show the true me, and let my authenticity shine throughout my presentation." - What it really means: you are not willing to go beyond your calling. Some people think that by saying "oh, I didn't prepare for this presentation" tells the audience "I am being myself", but in reality, you are saying "I didn't bother to be professional and give you my best". Unless that is your best, and in that case, there is no need to say it. Learning a script, a presentation flow, some bullet points, DOES NOT take away authenticity, it actually helps you be on topic and shine at your best.

Suggestion: being authentic is about being honest and truthful, not unprepared. Be you and be true to your nature, as you practice BEFORE a presentation.

I have been a Professional Presenter, Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, Platform Speaker and Coach for over 29 years and I still go over my sessions almost like a teacher preparing a very important class for an open house day with parents and inspectors. I do this basically because I care about my audience.

I practice three times around my presentations:

When I'm done with the presentation, I see it in "show" mode and visualize the flow of the session. After I ensure there is a flow of content, I practice standing up and plan the timing of my delivery by topic. I use a chronometer (timer) and a mirror. I look at my body language, my pace, and my pauses. Once I'm done, I practice one last time and memorize my transition points, as well as when I am having interaction with the audience, such as asking questions, storytelling, etc.

The basic principle of public speaking is that the whole thing is not about you, is about your audience. They deserve your time and professionalism. Give the best of you always.

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