You Are Never Too Experienced to Rehearse

I am all in favor of confidence, and saying to yourself “I got this!“ can be helpful in many situations.

But when it comes to certain high stakes presentations or media interviews, it’s a huge mistake to just walk in with confidence. You need to rehearse, ideally on video.

If you’re a highly experienced presenter, speaker, media expert, you might not need to rehearse for regular gigs. But some presentations are more important than others.

Jann Wenner is as an experienced media executive as they come. He’s been an editor, reporter, interviewer, and interview subject for nearly 60 years in his position as a cofounder of Rolling Stone Magazine. But he completely destroyed his reputation and legacy by doing an interview with the New York Times last week and not rehearsing. He ended up with quotes that made him look racist and sexist and he was kicked out of the music Hall of Fame. (This was his fault, not the reporter’s.) 

Former President Bill Clinton had a reputation of being a brilliant speaker, since, well, he was about five years old. But he went into the 1988 Democratic Convention Keynote slot, and he bombed. He hadn’t rehearsed enough, he hadn’t figured out the timing of his Primetime speech. And many wrote off his career at that moment. Sure he went on to bigger and better things, but that keynote speech blunder didn’t help him.

You may have aced your last three job interviews in your career, but now you’re up for the biggest promotion of your life. You can tell yourself that you always do well in interviews. But the last interview was five years ago–that was a long time. If you hadn’t played tennis in the last five years, would you be confident about going out on the court to play in a tournament today?

Whether you are giving a speech to a more important audience than usual or granting an interview to a news outlet with a much larger audience than normal, or going on a job interview for a once in a lifetime opportunity, you don’t want to lower your chances by winging it.

You need to rehearse. If it’s a media interview, pull out your cell phone and ask yourself questions or have someone else ask questions and then watch your answers and listen to them. Pick each answer apart.

Perhaps you are winning an award and will be giving an acceptance speech. Again, don’t wing it. This is a great opportunity to make a fantastic impression with people you respect.

If you want to see real masters at giving acceptance speeches, check out my latest YouTube video analyzing how Taylor Swift, Shakira and Diddy gave their acceptance speeches at last week’s VMAs. Watch here 

If you are speaking to a major trade association, and you’re normally seen as a good speaker, that’s all the more reason to rehearse this next speech on video. Don’t just talk in front of a mirror. Don’t just read the slides or read a script silently. Actually stand up and practice your presentation and record it on a video and then look at it. Keep doing this until you love what you say.

You can do this alone just by using your cell phone or WebCam. But the problem for many people is that it’s hard to diagnose yourself. It’s hard to give yourself fair judgment. Most people are either too harsh on themselves or too easy on themselves

Ideally, you can get feedback from other colleagues. Sometimes, colleagues are afraid to give us honest feedback, which is why many people reach out to me and our High Stakes Presenter Program. In this online coaching program, we work with you carefully over an eight week program, through a combination of live zoom sessions, video homework from you, plus video tutorials for you. 

If you think this is something that might help you, please go to today and to learn more.

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