BY JOANNE S. BLACK
Growing your business and building your professional skills takes practice—deliberate, exhausting practice. Adults resist practice. You
don’t get paid for it; you get paid to speak. You receive
compensation to do your job correctly the first time.
It’s kind of embarrassing to prac-
tice, especially in front of peers. I’m
completely confident speaking to
sales audiences, because those are my
folks. They focus on my message and
stories, not on me or my technique.
But I get nervous as all get out when I
address an audience of other speakers.
“Did I move in the correct direc-
tion?” I wonder. “Did I pause at the
correct place? Was my voice modu-
lated enough? Did I have lipstick on my
teeth? Oh, please just let me speak to
salespeople. They love me.”
Children practice all the time—with-
out fear. Remember learning to ride a
bike? You watched other kids. You prob-
ably started with a tricycle (very safe),
then got a bicycle with training wheels
(safe), which you eventually dropped
for a solo free ride (not so safe). You
fell, skinned your knees and got back
on. You eventually got good, really
good. But it didn’t happen overnight.