Michael Jordon shot hundreds of free-throws after practice
Joe Montana worked on his footwork day after day
J.K. Rowling spent countless hours rewriting the Harry Potter series
What are we talking about? Practice!
There is no shortcut to success. Even those supremely gifted people on the planet still have to work to maximize their potential. I love public speaking and throughout this contest process I am now learning how to PRACTICE public speaking.
My practice methods for regular toastmasters speeches is very loose. Usually I find my speech material in the shower. Rather than singing in the shower like many people do I usually just talk. I perform speeches to the shower head and come up with some rather creative ideas. I really need to get a recorder in there somehow. Once I actually wrap my head around a topic, I prepare an outline and then just start practicing to the air and my dogs (they are a great audience).
For this contest I have had to evolve.
I actually have a written version of the speech. I actually have seven written versions of the speech. Each draft has gotten progressively better and tighter. I have noticed from actually writing my speeches that I like to ramble and get “wordy”. With any speech and contest speeches particularly you must mind the time and you must be efficient with your words. Writing does not come natural to me but it is so helpful to actually put my ideas down on paper and continue to work toward having good copy before I go o stage with the speech.
Prior to the next contest on April 25 I will have given the speech formally to four toastmasters clubs and informally to several other audiences. I will have also practiced the speech hundreds of times in the shower, to the dogs, in the car, and lying in bed. I have gotten feedback from people that have competed at high levels in toastmasters and one of the keys is always to practice and be so comfortable with the speech that I can be in the moment when I am delivering it and be able to connect with the audience.
I don’t think there is a perfect way to practice but what I do know that not practicing almost guarantees your failure. Natural talent and ability is great but the world is littered with super talented people that flamed out before they reached their potential. Don’t flame out!
What are we talking about?