Steps to Management Success – Step 15: Presentations as Performances—Time to Practice

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 31st, 2010

STEP FIFTEEN

Presentations as Performances—Time to Practice

To sell your ideas, products, and services in business, you need to make effective presentations—to management, to your team, to clients, and even over the phone. The challenge is that you only get one chance—so make sure you get it right.

WHAT IT MEANS: Every successful presentation requires preparation. But your preparation isn’t complete until you’ve rehearsed your presentation thoroughly. There are reasons performers work so hard in rehearsal. It gives them greater control of their material. It builds confidence. And it gives the appearance that they’re hardly working at all. The same applies to giving business presentations. Take a cue from the most experienced and accomplished public speakers and the most successful athletes, musicians, and presenters: practice, practice, practice!

ACTION PLAN: Write down your main points, put them in a logical sequence, and rehearse them out load. If possible, record yourself. This lets you fine-tune your remarks in ways that are more natural to your own speaking style. It’s also more likely to point up flaws in your delivery that you can quickly correct, such as speaking too fast or too slow or without enough energy or with too much energy. If you can videotape yourself, even better!

EVEN BETTER: Go “live”—by testing your presentation before an audience. Seek out colleagues you can trust to give you honest, constructive criticism, even if it hurts. It may hurt more if you don’t! Finally, don’t think that by rehearsing you will rob your presentation of its vitality or somehow make your delivery seem slick or stilted. Practice actually has the opposite effect. Because it gives you greater command of your material and more confidence in yourself, you’re likely to be more relaxed and able to deliver in your own natural style.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)


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