Whether you’re leading a business meeting, presenting an important class project or speaking virtually, practice should be a vital component of your preparation process and a contributing factor to your success. Practice ultimately leads to positive habit formation and better, more consistent end results.
The Importance of Practice
We’d all like to be better communicators, more efficient in our work or to appear to have a natural ability to speak in front of crowds, but in order to appear spontaneous, or have all the right answers when giving a presentation, a lot of hard work and habit creation is required behind the scenes.
Because, becoming great at anything takes lots of time and practice…
Habits Can Help!
You may think people are just born with the natural ability to deliver amazing presentations or speak in front of crowds, and that is true to some extent, but becoming a natural takes hard work and positive habits to drive success. Take Toastmasters for example, this organization was developed on the idea that people want to become better communicators, through their process they teach you how to form better habits by practicing public speaking. This goes to show habits can be developed over time, but you need to work at them.
So what is a habit? It’s a behavior that we have the ability to carry out, with very minimal to no thought. Getting to the ‘habit stage’ requires you to follow through on a routine and set clear intentions that lead to successful habit creation (HBR).
Say we want to be able to deliver amazing presentations that come across as natural and fluid. In order to do this we need to establish a routine and prepare, which could look something like this:
- Practice and rehearse your presentation delivery exactly as you would when its presentation day
- Record yourself presenting in front of a smaller group of close friends, family or colleagues
- Use Presentii (in all practice and live presentations), this tool allows your audience to easily give you feedback, which is collected so you can review it later
Presentii helps drive the habit of delivering amazing presentations…
Creating BETTER Habits
So, if we want to not only create new habits, but create BETTER habits where do we begin?
First, it’s important to recognize that if something doesn’t come naturally to you, it can be learned. Second, it’s going to take a lot of time and commitment to get to the point where a habit is formed (HBR). Third, it will require you to put together a set of tools and processes to follow that will lead to your success.
Let’s use the example of public speaking, and see what we can do to master this skill that is such a common struggle. Here are a few tips to consider when trying to create habits around public speaking.
These are the types of habits that if done consistently, will lead to giving better presentations or speaking more comfortably in front of a crowd. It may not seem like it at first, but stick with it!
Breaking Old Habits
We talk a lot about creating new positive habits, but equally important and sometimes overlooked is breaking old negative habits. If you want to turn micro-habits into macro-habits keep things simple and implement small changes everyday that are attainable. The same can be said for unlearning old habits.
You will eventually break your old habits if you are consistent with your new ones, but first you must identify the negative habits you want to break. This identification process should involve gathering feedback (try Presentii) to identify and reflect on your negative habits. Following the identification of the habits you want to break, set small, attainable goals to start on your path to creating better habits going forward.
Let’s take another look at how this can apply to giving a presentation. Here are some of the most common negative habits, which you may have experienced yourself, that can turn a great presentation into an unpleasant one (Ragan).
By going through the process of identification, reflection and adjustment you will be on your way to becoming a great presenter with positive habits to aid in your success!