Marty shot in suit with one hand in pocket

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice, practice, practice.  We have all heard that thousands of times in our personal, sports and business lives.  I preach it constantly in my sales training and presentation training and coaching business. Sometimes I show the infamous Allen Iverson “Practice” video, which is still as hilarious today as it was when he said it live!

I have recently been fortunate to have developed a winning speech in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest.  I won our club (Peachtree Club), then the Area contest and then the Division contest (on my birthday).  I will compete next at the District level (state of Georgia) on Saturday evening, May 5. The winner of this contest moves on to compete at the contest at the International Convention in August in Orlando, FL.  If you win your semifinal round, you compete two days later for the chance to known as the “Public Speaking Champion of the World”!

I originally wrote this speech last fall for our club contest.  But as the rounds have gone by and I have gotten great input from my audience and other “experts” I trust, I have tweaked and changed the speech a fair bit, mostly the beginning and ending (interestingly, that is all most people remember of a speech, the beginning and ending).

Starting last week, I have entered into the final phase of preparation, practice.  I will do the speech for as many as five other Toastmasters clubs plus two other private coaches I am using.  In other words, no more tweaking of the words, just practice, practice, practice.  And, feedback from those audiences.

Interestingly, this focus on practice has been very enjoyable.  The speech is becoming a part of me, I am finding aspects of it that are new and rich every time I deliver it and practice it.  It becomes more “alive” each time.  The speech and I become more intertwined each time.  In fact, practice has become a soothing aspect to help me manage the nerves and energy that build up as I approach the contest on May 5.

One saying says, “Practice makes perfect.”  Another says “Perfect practice makes perfect.”  Whichever you like, don’t model Allen Iverson and mock practice. Model the old Bo Jackson Nike commercial, “Just Do It”, just practice!  Like the Milk Council said in their old commercials, “Milk, It Does a Body Good”, I say, “Practice, it does a speech well!”

Here is the version of the speech I delivered on March 10.  Come out to the Georgia Tech Conference Center on Saturday May 5, 8 pm to watch me compete at the District level!

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