Every year I create two to three heavily researched keynotes, and over the course of the next year or two, I will give each presentation more than twenty times. Before each live presentation, I rehearse an additional 4 to 6 times. Back in the days of in-person, when a projector bulb blew, I didn’t worry because the whole thing was in my head.
Some people believe that first-timers’ spontaneity gives their presentations energy. Not for me, extensive rehearsal helps me improvise in the moment, continually improve my material, and keep on time. The more I practice, the better the presentation.
Because of the Virtual Networking Incubator, I’m now essentially creating and presenting a new keynote every two weeks, which is a huge change from my old process. The speedy schedule means less time for writing, editing, and rehearsing. With every presentation, I’m reminded how much practice impacts performance. If I could give any one of these presentations again, it would be so much better. At the same time, each new presentation I’m giving now benefits from all the practice I’ve had giving 500 presentations prior.
We are trying many new things right now – new ways of convening our boards virtually, new programming in our virtual conferences, new types of virtual networking in our chapter events. When we were in-person, we had practiced doing all these things dozens of times. Now we are first-timers again. The good news is when we let our members know, we are trying something for the first time, that we are taking the risk for them, and we are experimenting on their behalf, they are willing to accept the inevitable bumps along the way. They’ll give us some grace as we practice.