by Andrea Wiley
I recently attended an 8th-grade graduation ceremony and was impressed by the speaking ability demonstrated by the 14-year-old girls who delivered the valedictorian and salutatorian address to their fellow classmates, family members, friends, and teachers. They were poised, rehearsed, and confident and were able to clearly communicate their message to the audience. It occurred to me that those girls were well on their way to mastering a skill that many professionals lack.
The reality is that there are several elements that contribute to a solid presentation and it does not end at the caliber of one’s public speaking ability. That is just the beginning. Though so often, that is where all the emphasis is placed when planning and preparing a presentation.
We live in a world where we think we are too busy to slow down and take the time necessary to thoughtfully prepare for a presentation, even though, growing up we were taught, “Practice makes perfect.” While perfection may not be a realistic expectation, we should still “practice, practice, practice,” in an effort to do our best. The more practice you put in ahead of time, the more comfortable you will be presenting, and the more you present, the more confident you will be in your ability to do so.
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