The New Year brings on long-term resolutions a-plenty: Take a public speaking workshop! Get to the gym! Finally kick that bad habit! And while it’s important to work towards those long-term goals, wouldn’t it be fun to start the year off with some five minute fixes that will make a difference right NOW?
Here is your instant, mini public speaking workshop, with some professional skills tips for good measure. After this, even if it takes you a while to lose those nagging fifteen pounds, you can celebrate making a speedy, positive change in your professional skill set.
1) Read the Ovation Blog, “How to Build a Rehearsal Calendar”: We are big believers in the power of the rehearsal process. Just like in the theatre, implementing this process can greatly improve your presentation skills. Building your own rehearsal calendar is the first step to productive practice. While building the calendar itself may take a bit more time, reading the blog will help you learn where to start.
2) Find out the exact location of your next presentation: Knowing what your presentation space looks like, how it is equipped, etc, is a huge boon when it comes to your pre-show prep. People often think that there is no way to find this information out beforehand, but there is! Take five minutes to make the first step- send a quick email to either get the information or find out who can help you. Trust us, someone knows.
3) Make a list: Find five quiet minutes to brainstorm a to-do list. Anything goes! Regardless of the time frame on the task (short OR long-term), or whether it’s personal or business related, jot it down. There’s no right or wrong! Afterwards, knock out a few quick tasks- things like “send a meeting invite” or “call to confirm appointment” can be quickly taken off your plate. Spend an extra minute reveling in your sense of accomplishment.
4) Do the math: Use the 75% Rule to figure out just how long that next presentation needs to be. We advise that your presentation itself only take up 75% percent of your allotted time. That way, you have the time to deal with Q&A, equipment malfunctions, or any other unexpected occurrences. So, do the math for your next presentation- your 60 minute time slot should only be 45 presentation minutes, max. Doesn’t that sound more manageable? Breathe easier right away.
5) Enlist the help of a trusted friend: Take a five minute coffee break with a close colleague and make a plan to help each other towards your professional skills goals. Does your buddy need help becoming a better active listener? Do you need an audience for your presentation rehearsals? Use your five minutes to: a) pick a goal, b) pick a length of time to work on things (2 weeks? 2 months?), and c) set some quick parameters (ie. honesty is welcome, teasing is not.) You’re five minutes closer to improvement.
Bonus Fix!: Try #3 with a twist. Take your five minutes and make a list of everyone that you owe a thank you note (this time of year, there should be plenty). Extra points if you take some time and write them out.