Posts Tagged ‘Mark Twain’

A 12 Minute Speech

April 15, 2011

8 Hours.  That’s how long it took me to write, edit and practice a 12 minute speech.

I was recently asked to provide the keynote at a non-profit fundraiser here in Charlotte.  I agreed, and then immediately began to prepare…the fear of failure or embarrassment loomed large.  In total, I rehearsed that speech somewhere between 30 and 40 times over a period of two weeks – re-writing, tweaking, and adjusting until the day of reckoning arrived.  Oh, I certainly could have cut that time down to 4 hours, maybe even 2, but then it wouldn’t have been my best effort, and I would have looked back on that night with regret.

The speech was well received, but it wasn’t without effort.  Conventional wisdom might lead you to believe that public speaking is more of an art than science, but I’m here to tell you that it’s all about preparation.  Mark Twain once said “I could never make a good impromptu speech without several hours to prepare it”, and I can certainly relate to that.

In sales, public speaking (or at least presenting in front of a prospective customer) comes with the territory.  But just because you’re good at making conversation doesn’t mean you don’t have to practice.  That’s one part of the job that you can never work too hard on perfecting.

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