I’m at Penn State today. I received my degree from here 39 years ago almost to the day. I graduated on March 25 1972. Time flies. I’m doing a talk on life and career success tonight for my Sigma Nu fraternity brothers.
I just saw a great quote from Abraham Lincoln on Twitter. “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six of them sharpening my axe.” This quote goes directly to the heart of the importance of preparation, and reminds me of the career advice on making great presentations in tweets 119 and 120 in my career success book Success Tweets.
Success Tweet 119 – “Discipline yourself to prepare for presentations. Practice out loud until you are totally in sync with what you’re going to say.”
Success Tweet 120 – “Practice presentations. You can control your nerves by practicing out loud. The more you practice, the less afraid you’ll be.”
Here’s a recap of why I think it is really important to practice your presentations out loud.
Practicing your presentations out loud…
- Calms your nerves. When you practice several times, the presentation is familiar and comfortable to you. This makes you less nervous.
- Helps you edit your talk for impact. There is nothing like saying it out loud to show you the rough spots in your presentation. Once you identify these rough spots, you can correct them before you’re in front of an audience.
- Helps you get better. The more times you repeat a talk out loud, the better it gets. It’s almost impossible to be over prepared. Practice does indeed make perfect.
These three reasons should convince you that it’s important to practice your talk out loud. Yet, I am always amazed that so many people don’t take the time to practice. They have some great excuses…
- It takes too much time.
- I know what I’m going to say, I don’t need to practice.
- I feel foolish talking to myself.
- I won’t get any better.
- I’ve done this talk a million times, I don’t need to practice.
And I say, “WRONG!!!”
As Abe Lincoln pointed out in his advice about chopping down a tree, practice is the main ingredient of any successful presentation – not funny slides and animation – practice.
Thomas Edison is famous for saying, “Many people miss opportunity because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.” I am semi famous for saying, “Most people know the right thing to do in most situations, their common sense tells them. They don’t use their common sense for a bunch of bogus reasons.”
So don’t come up with bogus reasons for not practicing your presentations out loud. If you want to become a dynamic communicator, and create the life and career success you want and deserve, you have to practice your talks – out loud. That’s some of the most important career advice I can give you when it comes to becoming a dynamic comunicator.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. If you want to be able to deliver dynamic presentations you have to follow the career advice in Tweets 119 and 120 in Success Tweets. “Discipline yourself to prepare for presentations. Practice out loud until you are totally in sync with what you’re going to say.” “Practice presentations. You can control your nerves by practicing out loud. The more you practice, the less afraid you’ll be.” Besides controlling your nerves, you’ll get better each time you practice. Trust me on this one, time spent practicing a presentation is time well spent and will enhance your chances of creating the life and career success you want and deserve.
That’s my take on the career advice embodied in Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts on the importance of preparation – whether for cutting down a tree, or making a presentation. “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six of them sharpening my axe.” What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for reading my thoughts on life and career success. I value you and your input.