It’s a Saturday morning and you are in the middle of a friendly game of golf. On the 8th hole you walk up to the ball, set your target, and select a club. You start your backswing, shift your weight forward, strike the ball, and follow through. You look up to see the ball flying hundreds of feet...off target and toward the adjacent fairway. Humiliated, you announce to your group that you are “hitting another ball.” You’re taking a mulligan.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take a mulligan in every aspect of our lives? In many things we can--transferring schools, changing jobs, switching careers. These are all are do-overs. In public speaking and presenting, there are no mulligans, no second chances, no do-overs. Once you are up in front of the group, it is full steam ahead, no matter what. And if your presentation doesn’t go well, you could lose a client, hurt the reputation of your company, and even stymie your career.
With no second chances, every time you present you must be as prepared as possible.
Frequently we hear from clients that they just like to “wing it.” They throw the talk together and hope for the best. While some people think they are good off-the-cuff speakers, conveying a precise and effective message takes careful preparation. Taking the time to think about your takeaways, organization, and storytelling, and budgeting time to practice are essential.
To help ensure you don’t wish there were mulligans in public speaking, we have the following tips:
Begin preparing early. Block time on your calendar to ensure you have sufficient time to construct an optimally-devised presentation.
Prepare your visuals in advance and rehearse with them so there are no surprises on the day of your presentation.
Practice out loud. Every speaker benefits from practice, and practice is more than mental rehearsal.
Utilize the expertise of a speaking coach. The world’s best golfers have swing coaches, and all speakers will improve with a speaking coach.
Don’t leave it up to chance to determine whether you will deliver an engaging and compelling presentation; prepare, practice, and perform to your potential. Remember…THERE ARE NO MULLIGANS IN PUBLIC SPEAKING.