I am not the first presentation coach to use a golf analogy, and likely will not be the last. The comparison is so fitting that it is worth another perspective. And it is golf season after all. My apologies to non-golfers, however I trust you will get the idea.
There are no short cuts. No magic wands. No luck. It is preparation. Period.
When I coach business professionals my first question is usually, “What is your preparation process?” Often the response is, “I don’t really have one.”
There are those presenters who think they do have a process simply by putting their slides together, attaching a few speaker notes, and going through the main messages in their head. Like golf, this is not an armchair sport. You need to practice on your feet, speak aloud and learn to how to properly use your tools.
Let’s look more closely at the golf analogy. We all want to lower our score by sinking those long putts, chip with accuracy, and hit long and straight drives. Yet, even after dozens of rounds of golf, our game is not much better at the end of the season than when we started. Frustration mounts. We think the quick fix to lower our high handicap is to buy new clubs and more expensive golf balls. Not surprisingly there is still little improvement. What we really need is a disciplined practice process and to practice regularly.
The presenter, like the golfer, may have all the right tools – great messages supported by compelling slides with engaging animations and graphics. To really maximize the power of those tools you need to practice diligently and actively, otherwise you are not going to elevate your game. Meanwhile, your competitors are likely out on the course elevating theirs.
Preparation is synonymous with professionalism.