The fastest way from good to great in your public speaking


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3 Checkpoints to Presentation Success: A Practical Guide to Creating a Clear & Focused Presentation

I remember the anger on his face as he stormed off the tennis court in a fit of rage. He just lost the match and his credibility too.

Australian tennis wunderkind Nick Kyrgios exited the 2017 Australian Open in disappointing fashion to a far more composed Andreas Seppi.

At the time of his press conference that evening, he was the only player within the top 100 of the world without a coach – “That’s one area where I need to start taking a bit more seriously”, he admitted.

Most of us believe if we keep working on something, we’ll get better at it. As asserted by Malcolm Gladwell, if we work on a skill for 10,000 hours, we’ll become an expert at it.

For Nick, it certainly got him pretty far. But not far enough.

In his latest book, Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or, How to Become an Expert in Just About Anything, Ulrich Boser claims there are certain myths surrounding the way we learn that we all believe in.

How’s my driving?

Boser looks at one skill most of us are accustomed to.

Driving our cars.

He claims, “Most of us drive every day, but most of us have not gotten better at driving…Putting in a lot of hours doesn’t always mean you’ll become good at something.”

It’s true. Just look at Perth drivers (which I’m one of them) and our (in)ability to merge during heavy traffic. Or what happens when the wet stuff starts falling from the sky.

The importance of outside advice

Boser hired a basketball coach to help him improve his game, and videotaped himself shooting baskets in the park.

“Don’t just ask a friend for feedback,” he says. “There has to be a social contract where the other person has to give you something. That’s why hiring coaches and tutors are so beneficial to learning.”

Coaching is vitally important as it’s the feedback line to your performance, regardless of how long you’ve been perfecting your craft.

Coaching is the fastest way from good to great

This sentiment is also echoed by international speech champion Darren La Croix, on filtering feedback in public speaking. In a recent blog, he states that “coaching is the fastest way from good to great”.

Anyone can give an opinion on your performance, but a coach can tell you “here’s what you can do to make it better”. A good coach will take into consideration the thoughts and attitudes of your audience.

Consider coaching for your next presentation

There aren’t many of us who will need coaching for our tennis (unless we’re considering becoming more than semi professional), or even coaching on our driving (come to think of it, this might not be a bad idea for some of us Perth drivers).

If there is one area I think we can all improve on, it’s the area of communication and presentation skills.

If you’re starting in your career, excellent presentation skills will make you stand out from the pack. If we’ve been around for a while, becoming a poised presenter can help elevate your thought leadership and expertise to the next generation who really need to hear your insights.

Consider getting coaching for your next presentation. Your communication skills will improve overall and later in life, you may just avoid the admission, “that’s one area where I need to start taking a bit more seriously”.


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The next Speakup Mastermind runs on Friday September 6 & 13 at the State Library of WA, and on November 8 & 15 2019.