Friday, January 17, 2014

Practice and Make It Look Easy

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“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”--MALCOLM GLADWELL

Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, and Winston Churchill

“Truth is, the sense of informality comes only after grueling  hours  of  practice.”

These three people have one things in common. They are very good at what they are doing. Jobs is good at presentation. Jordan is good at basketball. Chruchill is good at public speaking. To be that good, they spend a lot of time practicing.
“...learning requires consolidation in neural tissue; the more experiences we have with a particular action, the stronger those connections become."

10,000 Hours

     According to Malcolm Galdwell, you can be a master of anything after practicing for 10,000 hours. This number is not too big. Think about it. We master at speaking a language if you speak for, say 6 hours every day for 5 years (i.e., 6 x 365 x 5 = 10,950 hours). We master at driving if we spend 3 hours driving every day for 10 years (i.e., 3 x 365 x 10 = 10,950 hours). 
“The  chief misconception  about  Jobs  is  that he  is  a natural presenter, that he was born with the charisma that he exhibits onstage. Not true. As research has shown, nobody is a natural. You  can  achieve  the  same  level  of  proficiency  of  the  world’s greatest  communicators  if  you work  at  it much, much  harder than everyone else.”

Video Taping 

It’s essential to video-tape yourself and look at it. It’s not a pleasant experience, but it helps improves your skills. Video-tape your presentation. Look at it and try to cover all the flaws you have. You might even find an objective friends to comment on your presentation as well.
Pay attention to the following five points during your presentation

  1. Eye contact: Do not read the slide. Capture your audience with your eyes.
  2. Body language:  Be confident. Try to maintain open posture. Do not be stiff like a wood or a robot. Try to be natural.
  3. Filler words: These are words like ‘umm’, ‘ahh’, ‘you know’, etc. People use filler words to fill in awkward silent moments. You spend energy connecting to your audience and building up moments. These filler words would disconnect you from your audience and destroy the moment. Filler words are indication of not being proficient at presentation. If you still use filler words, you will have to practice more. 
  4. Vocal delivery: Use the above voice techniques to create dynamic in your presentation. Use inflection, pauses, volume and rate to make your presentation sound interesting.
  5. Energy: Use your energy and passion to fire up your audience. Inspire them. Electrify them. Make them feel the thrill in the topic as much as you do.

Leave Your Comfort Zone

From time to time, you need to jump out of the ordinary. If you practice in what you are good at every time, you will never be better than that. Try to raise your voice or use your hand more than usual. It might make you feel uncomfortable at first. Try to make it work. You might become a better speaker than who you are. 

Bucket Method: An Q&A Strategy

Here is the strategies you may use to prepare yourself for an upcoming questioning sessions:
  1. Identify potential questions
  2. Categorize them
  3. Create the best answer for each category
  4. Listen carefully for the questions
  5. Make eye contact when answering questions to show your confidence.

Me or We

If you focus on yourself, you’ll think like what would the audience think of me. Forget yourself, and focus on your audience. It will make you less nervous. 
“The more you practice, the less nervous you will be.”

Source: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience 

Book or Audiobooks?

          Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post].     
          There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into You can keep downloading the over and over again.

    About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. And, when you do, sometimes, you want to review what you learn from the book. If you do not make  notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for.

However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.

This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.

I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.

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