While critical, the mindset of performance is not nearly as sexy as it’s counterpart, the tactics! Today, let’s push past the mindset of preparation and explore the tactics required for beginner and intermediate speakers to crush their next performance.
After all, the unprepared speaker has the right to be afraid.
My goal from this post is to give you three actionable take aways that will remove your anxieties and ensure high performance. Beginner and intermediate speakers alike can take advantage of the following three rules. The 24 hour rule, the video rule, and the real life rule.
24 Hour Rule
I use the 24 hour rule as my measuring stick for how prepared I am. If I’m giving a speech Tuesday night at 8pm, then by Monday night at 8pm at the latest, I should be completely ready to give that speech as if it was on Monday night! As soon as you start using the night before a presentation as the main hours for practice, you’ve already lost.
As a speaker and communicator, your unconscious mind is your most powerful asset.
Preparation ahead of time gives your presentation time to sink deep within your subconscious mind. When you find yourself truly mesmerized by a presentation it’s virtually always because it comes off authentic, like they came up with it on the spot.
That’s the feeling you want to give your audience.
If you’re giving yourself less than the 24 hour rule, you’ll either be A) underprepared and stumbling on your words or B) just prepared enough that you sound robotic as if you’re reading from a script.
That is not how you persuade and it’s not how you deliver exceptional performances.
If you want an accurate measure of how prepared you are before a big presentation use the 24 hour rule and ensure you’re ready at least 24 hours before your next big speech.
The Video Rule
People are often given misguided advice when it comes to speech prep. That, if you practice in front of a mirror… it’s just like the real thing!
Practicing in front of a mirror does not accurately represent what you will look like in front of an audience. My recommendation is to use the video rule instead. The next time you have a big presentation, get a video with your entire body in the frame. Film the speech you’re were going to give and then spend time combing out the knots.
You’ll be surprised on how many adjustments you can make through watching yourself on video. I gave one of the biggest speeches of my life at the Speaker Slam Grand Slam back in November of 2017. When I watched my practice video I found that I was doing all these tiny bounces and my movements were clearly abrupt and contrived.
Fortunately, I used the video rule to take the presentation from a 6 or 7 to a 9 or 10! The presentation turned out to be fluid, and in fact one of the best example of effective body language and gesticulation I’ve ever given.
Make sure you use the video rule. It will only make you better!
Real Life Rule
This one is my favourite because if you use it, you’ll separate yourself from 90% of communicators. It’s so simple.
Give your pitch to your dog. Practice your job interview with a buddy. Give your presentation before you need to give your presentation!
No matter how many times I practice in my room and film myself, it’s always a bit different when there’s a thousand people staring at me. So if you want to go into the world and make a difference, crush that pitch, and get a standing ovation, use these three rules: the 24 hour rule, the video rule, and the real life rule.
I promise, there is nothing more anxiety inducing than being underprepared, and nothing more empowering than knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that this will be the best presentation of your life.
Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”