One of my clients called me yesterday to share how her recent presentation went. We’d spent about 6 hours together reviewing, practicing, taping, testing, editing and more. It was a 45 minute talk to a consequential group in her industry.
She couldn’t retain her excitement.
“So I started with that story we practiced – where I made them imaging a certain place and time that highlighted an uncomfortable moment with the ‘pain’ I wanted to help alleviate. And from there on, I had them paying attention to the core of my talk. It worked perfectly.” she said.
But she also said she arrived a day early and practiced 10 times in her hotel room. And the morning of the talk, she practiced 10 more times. Apparently, it paid off when she admitted there was one big error in her slide deck.
“My home office sent me a slightly different version than the one I was working from — and I didn’t verify that it was correct. During the presentation, I probably would have panicked had I not practiced so much, but when I hit the slide that didn’t match my notes, I went from memory and continued without a hitch.”
I asked her how she knew that her presentation went well.
“At the end they had dozens of questions. The other presenters had none.”
The lesson learned is that everyone has a different practice pattern to be successful. This client had identified she needed to improve before an even more significant speech later this summer – and used this smaller presentation as a “warm up” to the bigger one. While the topics are totally different, she now has a basis on which to gague what time and effort she personally will need to succeed.
“I understand how to construct the talk, make the slides effective and what practice I need. It’s a whole lot more than I’ve ever invested in any other talk, and I’m pleased to say, it paid off – especially in the confidence I have now to tackle the next one.”