“We’re sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we’re talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last but we’re talking about practice man. How silly is that? … but we’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice man… but we’re talking about practice man, we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about practice” Allen Iverson
Years later Allen Iverson’s rant about practice is still being replayed. He was wrong then and is wrong now. Truth is, in athletics and in business practice is what leads to success. The repetition of motion, words, and concepts is what creates success.
In business in rehearsing for a big presentation when someone on your team says they don’t want to be “over-rehearsed” they are ultimately pulling an Iverson by saying that rehearsal is unimportant.
My experience is that rehearsal, e.g. practice, is one of the most important factors in gaining additional business (see Dec 17, 2009 Strumings, 4 Keys to Success in Winning New Business
Unfortunately even a company CEO can become “white noise” to their staff in demanding rehearsals (they can even be an impediment). That’s why in my former life as a CEO of an ad agency I always used a presentation coach for key pitches. The coach was invaluable for many reasons. The coach can be the excuse you need to demand a full dress rehearsal. You can say we’re bringing in a coach and paying him/her well to coach us. Their policy is that that they will only work with us if we’re ready for a full dress 48 hours prior to the pitch. In any event, a totally objective, highly skilled coach can make any presentation 2-3 times better. Shorter, tighter, crisper. A winning pitch.
My experience is that when we used a coach we won more than 50% of the time. And when we didn’t we lost more than 50% of the time. Our success was not just based on the coaching skills, though they obviously helped. Having a coach forced us to practice. The more we rehearsed (practiced) the better we were. That’s why plays have dress rehearsals.
Wanna win the big pitch? Then practice!
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