This is the podcast of “Opened Dawes” Live, which runs weekly as a live video show on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn at 11 am on Tuesday mornings so that we can throw open the doors and welcome you in for a relaxed sharing of information, tips, thoughts, and answering any questions about public speaking and presentation/communication skills you may have.
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This week’s show looks at the impact and virtues of rehearsing and practising, and the answer may not be what you expect…
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Good afternoon, I nearly said morning again because I'm used to it being in the morning for Opened Dawes Live but mixture of circumstances posts recommended to give it a go try and around the lunch break rather than the coffee break. But hopefully we can get plenty of view enjoying this show and don't forget it is available to watch back on Facebook and on YouTube, and on LinkedIn as well. And also, you'll find that the podcast goes out which is the audio from this show as well and do a search for Opened Dawes Live podcast and you'll be able to see it and it's on all of your favorites, whether it's your Apple, your Amazon, your buzzsprout all of them, they're they're available and the links are on Open Dawes training.co.uk forward slash Connect, and you'll be able to see how to get to it. My name is Chris Dawes, founder of Open Dawes Training. And it is a pleasure to have you along. And for this week's show. I want to address does practice make perfect. And I want to kind of look at two distinct areas. And that is the rehearsal side of things. It's fairly obvious, and we want to look at that in more detail. But also picking up that some people have said, Oh, I don't need training, because I do plenty of them. And I want to address where the practice definitely makes perfect on that front. And I'm talking about habits and they're not always good. I'm going to start with rehearsing though. And where the rehearsal element tends to come from is that people are used to thinking, well, I've got a script, I've got to memorize my script, I need to rehearse it and get it completely off patter. Well, the script element is actually the the number one, just trying to bring the microphone a bit closer, the number one source of nerves. Because people are paranoid, I'm going to forget what I'm going to say, Well, if you are trying to memorize a whole script, the likelihood Yes, you are because you're gonna be nervous oil, you're up there, your minds gonna sort of go your squirrel, it's gonna go somewhere else, no matter what you do, people are gonna get involved with comments with actions, and something's just gonna sort of take you away from what you want to do. And this isn't a scripted drama, where you need to, to memorize your your lines, this is all about sharing information, whatever that information happens to be, whether you are standing up giving a presentation, whether you are providing a training course, whether you are actually participating in a meeting, and you've got something to add to this meeting. It is the same thing with just sharing information. So we cover a whole area on on scripts and content where you're better off having just bullet points saying I want to cover this, this this this in this ideally in that order. But you know what? It's not the end of the world. If it's not an you know, it's not unheard of that you're there with a pen and you take it off as you do it to make sure that all I need to go back to that because I didn't cover that. So what do we need to rehearse? If I'm advising people that that's an easier and a safer way for you and a better flow and personality that will come out? If you do it that way? What do I actually need to rehearse then it is important to rehearse but it's it's how you're doing it, you're not then trying to deliver what you're going to say verbatim word for word. It doesn't need to be, I've seen some sort of bits of advice where it says, you know, in practice, you know, where you're going to smile, where you're going to laugh where you're going to do this way. And it's like, really, how unnatural is that going to come over? You might have a preconceived idea of idea, you know, I'm gonna sort of like Mike drop at that point, I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna, whatever. And that's fine, you've got performance ideas in your head. And that gives you some ammunition in how you're going to deliver absolutely fine. But don't get caught up on it. Allow yourself to just flow naturally, because that's where the personality will come out. Maybe your personality isn't about cracking jokes about being dramatic about being emotional. Whatever your personality is, as long as you are allowing yourself free to just share that you're going to be able to do it. So what you actually rehearse is your intended flow to make sure have I got the all the bullet points that I need, right? Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. And I'm going to flow I'm going to then talk about this and I'm going to go on and talk about that. I won't be going and doing that whole presentation necessarily, in exactly how it's going to go right. So now I'm talking about this and I know that I will be mentioning that these are the facts and these are the stats and you then notice any gaps you may have in your knowledge and you go oh I need to check what is the latest stats on that and that could be added to my note sheet that I would have in front of me. Okay, so it's that percentage it's that many out of 100 or whatever it might be great, I've got that so that I can instantly going Would you believe that even to this day, public speaking is the number one fear and death is number two. Obviously I do remember that but if you got more detailed stats, you're able to look down at it and just fill yourself with the confidence that you can just go Yep, there it is. That's what I need to do. Remember what I've said I'm sure I've said it in this countless times is try to get away from putting sentences in your bullet points because the minute you put sentences human nature is that we will read them as in read them as we're looking at them and also read them as we are speaking them out as well. So try not to do that too much it will throw you whether you intend it to or not it will help you to fill those gaps it will help you to fill the gaps of things you might not know enough about does it mean that I should get someone involved in this with me an expert that might be able to help do I need to go and do some more research then also practice the flow of your if you're using presentation slides go through it make sure that the slides are in the order you want them to be that it's got the right level of information on there that the any animations happen in the right order I've had that loads of times and it's worse if it's one you do repeat it repetitively, but you just kind of tweak it and literally realize oh no, it's now gone. That animation comes up before that one because I changed a number of things but the animations don't necessarily get to just rehearse to go click yep click and I'm talking about this and I'm talking about that because what this means is that once you get up there and you go with a clicker in hand your presentation behind you so you're looking at your audience rather than turning your back on them which is a massive no no in my book is that you're able to just relax and and go through it and let everything happen a lot more naturally with personality we've also now I've talked about we've gone through we've rehearsed the flow so that we're confident right is that the order that I wanted to be at you know what I want to put that up here because that will lead into that quite nicely and that will actually justify that point that I've made there. But also remember the key point I made is that it's not the end of the world you know no one knows your script your content your intended order other than you so there's no problem you've got something that makes sense as your utopia and you allow yourself to go through it but if you get taken in other directions you're able to look down and go oh I still haven't covered that but yet let's put it back in remember that if you have rehearsed the flow I've lost my train of thought there you go so you this is an important part by the way is that if you have not scripted and done it exactly right you're able to react a lot more naturally to when you suddenly forget something to when you just lose your train of thought I'm sure we've all done it where you're they're going I was about to go somewhere and I've completely forgotten what it is they make that comment that it will come back to you when you're not thinking about it well that doesn't help me but by the way cheers this ever coffee it but you're able to react a lot more natural you're able to take it in your stride if it's not this sudden oh my gosh I've forgotten my script I forgotten what I was gonna say next it doesn't matter you know it's a lot more natural for you to just go through it now so that is my simplified we go into more details I'm sure you can imagine on the training but simplified in terms of it's it's what do I rehearse just rehearse the flow, get yourself comfortable, make sure you've got no gaps that the the order you intend to do is about right? That the slides flow in the way that you expect them to do that you've got anything that you need to prepare. So if you're going to speak up in a meeting and you know which point you're going to do it Have I got everything that I need to give people because that's backing up my point. Great. I've got everything. I'm good to go. How it then happens on the day. It's Wednesday. I don't know And that is the beauty of it is that you are able to just be free and share that information. However it happens. I've done numerous instances where I've presented sort of like, I think the most ideal is five times in one day, the same presentation five times to different groups. And every single one of them will have been that little bit different. I think it was good for my sanity, that they were a bit different, just sort of switch up a little bit. But it is important to just be natural. Ironically, the more natural you leave it, the more natural you will be. I know it sounds like a silly thing to say. But everybody gets hung up on, right, I've got to have it exactly as this. You don't. Now, in terms of practice, and I'm going to particularly pick up on you know, people say, Oh, well, you know, the more I do, the better I'll become you Yes, to a certain extent. But I mean, because Aristotle made the quote, We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. But Napoleon Hill also said one bad habit often spores a dozen good ones. And who's to say you haven't clocked that that is a bad habit at the moment. It might not come across well to the other people in because it's now become a habit just because you're doing it time and time again, doesn't necessarily make it right now, people who no Open Dawes Training in the philosophy that I tried to create in our programs is very much about there is no blueprint of a presenter, it's mythical, it doesn't exist. Don't try to be your favorite presenter. Be you just a slightly exaggerated version of you. Sure, but still you. So that means that whilst we're not suddenly trying to completely change you, what we do need to look at and see right? What are the bad habits that you have. And I've worked with people that have had all sorts I've had people that maybe get up on stage, and their bed bad habit is is the physical communication, and they pace rapidly from side to side of that stage. And it doesn't come across well. And so what that is, is go and write just because that was your go to action. It was your stress relief, it was your crutch doesn't make it right. And so we work on getting rid of that bad habit. If they habitually I'm an urge or have a stock word, we try to get that sort of wheedled out of people. If they're too fast, it's probably causing the arms and the stop words. But equally, it can be difficult for people to really soak in what you're trying to share with them. And so we'll try to get people to maybe slow down the eye contact, do they do enough eye contact? Do they look at the screen, rather than that their audience, you know, or they're just some examples off the top of my head of some bad habits that can sneak in. And it's important that we work on those and help people. This is why not only do we work with people that can't talk won't talk. But people that are are presenting regularly, aren't particularly worried about it, they don't get excessively nervous, they sort of take it in stride. They love the adrenaline, they love the buzz of it. And they're pretty good. I've worked with some CEOs of multinational organizations that I've got to say a pretty good, and sometimes I initially sit there and go, right, okay, what are we going to work on here? This is good. But what they've identified is they want good is not good enough. They want to take it to a whole other level. That doesn't mean that that we arrogantly sit there going well that we can do that, because we're better. It's like, No, you sit back and you watch somebody and see what their attributes, their skills, their real things that stand out about them. any bad habits they may have picked up, that would be better if they weren't doing that. And you then fine tune those people. And that's what they're there for, like sports people that still have coaches, no matter then potentially being the best in the world. They'll still be constantly working to fine tune and just get that little bit better. And that's what those people do. So we get to work with the complete spectrum and it's wonderful. So just doing lots of them does not necessarily overcome all of the things that stop you from being I'm going to put the air quotes sorry I hate doing those but the air quotes have perfect, there is no such thing as perfect, but it's like the best possible version of you, which is probably a moving target anyway. You need to get yourself to the stage that right I have confidence that I know my stuff. I don't therefore need to be worrying about that I don't need to overthink it. When I rehearse, as I said, I'm going through making sure there's no gaps, there's nothing that might be out of date in what I'm about to share, right? That's there and I know my stuff. So the fluff or the sizzle, as I call it, that I'm going to wrap around the facts and the figures that I'm about to share. I get to relax and just do that and have fun. I remember when I first started commentating. And I think this stood out to me more than when I was doing the business presentations. And when I first started commentating, especially when I went further afield, and I saw I got a like from Nigel forest. Thank you for that, my friend. He's up Oulton Park direction, and this is where it sticks in my mind, I was at the Nikkor Brook commentary box, for the first year that I got had the privilege of being able to commentate there. And I think back to it now and I cringe. I obviously got away with it because I got more opportunities thereafter. But I cringe because everything I did was thinking, I've got to remember the corner names, I've got to remember the driver names, I've got to remember the cars I've got to remember the championship histories, I've got to remember what's coming next, I've got to remember the corporate responsibilities of promoting x, y and Zed I've got to remember when to hand over to my co commentator, and then doing the grid and doing it this way. And everything was all about, oh my gosh, I've got to remember this I've got to do that. I've got to do that. When I became what I call subconsciously competent, I no longer needed to remind myself of the corner names. I had a system in place that made sure that what I couldn't remember in terms of drivers or championships or latest I had on paper in front of me if anybody's been tried commentary box, they know it's normally a bomb site with information everywhere. But it means whilst ongoing and always find what crutches Do you need in place? So that I could literally go for a fraction of a second I panicked, oh my gosh, I can't remember but look down there it is bang, there's my answer. So remember when I said rehearse, fill in those gaps. That doesn't mean that you necessarily fill in gaps in what you've got. But you certainly go all Do you know what, that's one area that I can't remember the exact detail the exact fact the exact figure, right, you know what, that I'm going to just quickly add down there so that I've always got it if I need to, to look down. So I had my system. As soon as every all of that was taken care of. I then got to be me. I got to have fun. And I made some wonderful friends up there at Oulton park in that first year. That still to this day, sadly, I haven't been up there for a little while, because of being pulled every here, there and everywhere. But because we had fun I interacted I was a person, you know, allowed my personality to connect with their personalities, and we had so much fun. And it worked, thankfully could have gone one or two ways, admittedly. But you've got to have the confidence that you know your stuff, there's a reason why you are presenting about what it is you're presenting as a reason you are providing training on what you're providing training, there is a reason why you're about to speak up on this information in the meeting. You're not about to speak up on someone at about someone else's information. That's that department. That's their expertise, they're about to do that. But I'm here from this department with this experience, and I've got the confidence that I'm going to do it. So once you've done that, you then let your personality out, you let it flow more naturally, which ironically, will make you feel a lot more confident and comfortable, as well as how it will be received from others. Things such as you know, to pick out some of the areas that we work on pace, pauses, body language, and movement icontact, all those kind of things that we work on in our training, they will become more natural, excuse me, more natural, more expressive, and they will become the habit for you. So whilst we've said yep, keep going practice. And the more presentations you do, the better you can get. As long as it is the right things that you're doing. If it's the wrong things, again, air quotes, or your you're doing is the wrong things coming out more naturally. doesn't necessarily make it right. So this is the key thing to know your staff work out what you need to work on. Get mentoring or whatever if because that's the other thing. We don't just provide training. We provide mentoring, ongoing mentoring for people create good habits, not bad ones. And that's the key and that as I said a minute ago about myself. It's a constantly moving target and that's the fun of it. We are expressing we are sharing information, knowledge, passions, experiences, opinions, heaven forbid, all of those kind of things. But remember, you've got the information. This is how I intend to go. Have I Got any gaps? Does any visual aids? Do the visual aids flow in the same way? Do I need anything visual physical with me to support that or to hand out, that has got me in order, I am now ready to go. And I can just press the start button and let it flow. If I lose my train of thought, if I forget what I intended to say, how I would have liked to have said it, I don't end up having this complete meltdown in front of everybody. I just relax and go, nope, it's gone. I'm gonna go this direction instead. And I've got this crutch in front of me that says, I can go back, suddenly, the whole thing feels better, comes across better, is received a lot better. And you're ironing out all your bad habits. So practice on its own does not necessarily make perfect to answer the question that was posed for this particular session. But it can do if you are gradually working on ironing out your bad habits. The question is, do you know what those bad habits are at the moment, if you're able to record yourself, preferably on video, so that you can see as well because there's a lot of physical things, or at the very least, you know, audio record. And listen back. Don't be hypercritical about yourself. Don't try to, you know, paralysis by analysis and micromanage and all of those kinds of things. But just look at it and go wow, yeah, do you know what? That's not great. I know I have to keep doing the thing is that I can become too expressive with my hands, I can sometimes get too quick, I can sometimes get too loud. Depends on the room, whether that's right or wrong thing to do. But I will always have myself at a slow enough pace, for example, that you may have noticed that there isn't much in the way of arms and ORS when I am presenting, that's not a mythical thing that, you know, wow, what a genius I've managed to do. And now it's all my brain is always ahead of my mouth. My wife would disagree with me there. I'm sure I have no doubt. But I'm always able to be thinking ahead, slow down my voice instead of being too quick. And I'm then able to sort of pause, keep the flow steady. And not an urge, the thinking has already happened instead of pausing and going. What's next. I don't need to do any of that. So it is a lot more natural. So practice on its own, doesn't necessarily make perfect rehearsal isn't about overdoing it, you know, memorizing your lines and getting them all right. It is about making sure you're comfortable with what you've got with what you know, with the flow of it in an ideal world, and then just let it be natural. Let your personality out. So that's it for me. Thank you very much for listening to or watching Episode 13. As I say listening to because this will also become a podcast later this week as well. It's been a pleasure, thank you for listening in. Keep practicing, keep doing those things. Keep thinking about what you're doing, keep taking the opportunities to speak in public present, provide training, speak up in meetings, having those conversations in general with people even when it doesn't necessarily feel natural, whether it's at these networking breakfasts or whatever, have those conversations. And that's the key thing, have conversations, and I hope you can feel it even with this is that I'm not trying to stand here presenting. It's a conversation, even though you're not physically here. It's still having a conversation with people. That also feels a lot more natural as well. And do you plan before you go down to a pub? Right? This is the conversation I'm going to have this is how it's going to go this is of course we don't allow yourself to bounce, allow yourself to be reactive. Just have your core information ready for you to share with people. For myself, Chris Dawes Open Dawes Training. Thank you so much for joining us, and we will see you next time. I need to have a think about what the plan is possibly about the having the confidence of our inner child is nothing better than having the confidence of a four year old in a Batman t shirt. So I might have a little look at that next time. But for now, thank you very much and we'll see you next time. Cheers. Oh bye