049: Mini Moved Me - On the Value of Rehearsal


About a decade ago, I was working at an organization where I was speaking to hundreds of kids each day, several days a week. I had a few talks that I'd get a crack at putting up in front of an audience maybe 50+ times a year, each. That's a LOT of time in front of an audience (and, some might say, the toughest of audiences). It honed my skills tremendously.

But there was a HUGE difference between the first time I put my talk up on its feet and the 250th time.

Well, DUH.

So why, then, don't we rehearse more? In putting these talks up on their feet over and over and over and over again, I learned things you cannot learn until you do it. And though rehearsal is not the same thing as doing it for an audience, it's a far cry from what many speakers do, which typically looks something like this:

think it through, say it once in the shower, depend too much on my slide notes, and cross my fingers that all goes well.

If you want to move your audience, this won't cut it.  Let's learn at least some of the lessons that need to be learned before we stand up in front of an audience.

You see, it takes a long time for the content to move from our brains down into our bodies, and our hearts. As a daily speaker, the difference in what I believed - and understood- and had connected to - about my content from my first year to my second year was enormous.

It just takes time. It just takes time. Let me say it one more time: it takes time, so you must give yourself that time.

Someone once told me that we should be allowing ourselves 1 hour of preparation for every 1 minute of our talk. So, for a 60-minute keynote, we should be spending 60 hours preparing. I presented that once to a client whose look told me, "aw hellll no."  Perhaps you don't have 60 hours. But I but you have more time than you're giving yourself.

60 hours might sound overwhelming, but it's important - if only to awaken us to the need for more rehearsal time. Don't hide behind the content, obsessing over the little things. You just need to stand up, and REHEARSE.

[I should admit something - this is my own personal challenge, as well. I don't give myself enough time to rehearse. I'm working on it.]

How about you?  Do you give yourself enough time to rehearse?  How much?  And does it ever feel like enough? 

Take a listen!