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However, those who prepared with training in distance walking strolled on past the others and kept walking the next day. Public speaking often presents us with a similar feeling: “Shouldn’t I be fairly decent at this? I speak all the time.” We suit up; we show up, and think that we should be fine. We assume that we can wing it, but presenting uses different muscles and skills. Practice does make a difference. And being coached does improve your game. Ask any athlete.

In addition, we find, that when we have been away from the game for a while, the game expectations, personal skills, equipment and playing fields may have changed. If you were a high school or college athlete and a friend asks for a pick up game, you might say, “Oh, I played in high school, it will come back to me.” And while some of that is thankfully true, we also have older bodies, along with some bad habits stored in our muscle memory. All of this reminds us that it may be worth doing a little stretch, a warm up, and practice so that we are ready to compete again and, as in both games and presentations, to go for the goal.

The Goal: The Why

Games have goals. Often it is to win by obtaining a certain score. But sometimes the goal of the game is simply to have fun. While some people enjoy the competitive energy, some are more drawn to the play. Each and every presentation, or moment of communication, has a goal or objective. You must be very clear on your goal. Overall, clear communication, with resulting action from the audience, is what we hope to achieve. But that can take many different forms.

It can be the yes to a deal; it can be the sell; it can be the empowerment of the knowledge shared; it can be the “ah ha” of guiding to self-discovery. We could be seeking visibility/exposure, or seeking new customers. We must prepare by asking a variety of questions of ourselves to lead us to our specific goal.

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