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Get up, Stand up (and rehearse!)

January 6, 2011

One of the most important things you can do in order to ensure a wonderful performance on the day of your big presentation is to practise. And while that advice might sound a little bit overly obvious, it really is true.

However, it is how we practise that is important, a lesson taught to me during my basketball playing days.

In the secondary school I attended I used to have a great basketball coach, Conan Doyle, in fact he is still there to this day and has coached basketball (and life skills) to countless boys over the years. I remember thinking of him as an incredibly smart man and a never ending source of wisdom.

One day during training he taught us an important lesson about practise.

Unsatisfied with the way we were practising, he stopped us and called us over, it seems we weren’t “doing it right”.
“Guys” he said, “If you want to succeed when you are out there on the court playing a real game, you have to practise as if you were in a game right now, because how you practise is how you will play“. “Practice crappy and slow, and play crappy and slow”

And of course he was completely right. It is downright silly to imagine that you can practise at a slow pace and just “turn it on” come game time. Of course when you are a teenager such logic can often escape you!

The same logic applies to practising your presentations. You should rehearse in conditions that are as real to what you will be experiencing on the big day as possible.

This means that instead of just looking over your slides at your desk and quietly going over the words in your head you should find a nice quiet room somewhere and practise belting out your material at full volume. And rather than just staring at the screen as you go through your rehearse, try looking at the (imaginary) audience and move around exactly like you would if you were really delivering this presentation.

And do it a lot! I remember the day before the most important presentation of my college life I ran through it over 30 times!

Getting used to delivering your presentations as they will be delivered on the day is very important at getting your confidence up which in turn this will help you be more comfortable (and brilliant) on presentation day.

So remember, “How you practise is how you will play”

As a funny aside, this guy might not agree with me

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Yash permalink
    January 6, 2011 8:14 pm

    In “Outliers”, there is a “10,000 hour rule”, which says that anything that you want to get good at, you should practice for 10000 hours or more :P. Though here we dont really need that amount of efforts, 15-20 minute practice would be decent.
    Agree with you n your Prof!


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