April 12, 2008

Winging it - not okay



I hear people say about their presentations, "I just wing it," or "I never practice."

Maybe they throw the presentation together the day before and go over it once, briefly.

They say, "When I wing it, I do okay. I don't need to practice it."

Remember this? "It's not about you."

What does your audience think about your thrown-together presentation? If you're doing the bare minimum to get by, then they're probably not getting much out of your presentation. You're basically showing the audience that you don't give a crap about them.

What's the point of giving the presentation if you don't care what the audience gets out of it?

Why be just "okay" when you could be "good" or even "great?"


If you're doing your best, and trying your hardest, and making a sincere effort, your "okay" is going to be better than someone else's "good" if they really don't care about the audience.

I'm not even talking about your skills here. I'm talking about your enthusiasm for your topic, your willingness to meet the audience where they are, and your desire to give value. Which means organizing, preparing, and practicing.

If you aren't willing to take the time and effort to do this for your audience, don't give the presentation. Don't insult them, and don't waste their time by being "just okay."

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Terry Gault said...

You're absolutely right Lisa; Practice truly does make perfect. While some people may be able to pull of "winging-it" so that they don't crash and burn, there is no way that their presentation will be that great.

I had a baseball coach in high school who said, “You play the way that you practice.” Naturally, practicing public speaking will help. What most people forget though is that it is equally important to practice non-verbal delivery skills as well. It is important to do so as practicing your non-verbal skills will help cement them in your muscle memory. If you do not practice that way, you are less likely to meet with success.

Further, there is no substitute for practicing your presentation on your feet before you deliver it. Mark Twain said it best, “It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for filling in the gaps, Terry, especially about the non-verbal skills.

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