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Why you can’t skimp on rehearsals

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This post is by Andrew D. Gilman, CEO of CommCore Consulting Group, a privately held specialty communications firm serving businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations around the world. Gilman is co-author of “Get To The Point.”

I recently had a conversation with Franc D’ Ambrosio, the actor and singer who was awarded the title of the “Worlds Longest Running Phantom” (Phantom of the Opera). Franc says that a great performance before the live, ticket-paying audience is in direct relationship to the rigor and effort put into practice and rehearsal.

This is also true of Olympic athletes, he noted. Elite performers say that their practices have to be so rigorous and true-to-life that by the time they get into true competition, game or match, their performance is almost automatic. If you practice well, slight changes in a game or show won’t throw you off. To the contrary, if you haven’t rehearsed enough, little things can have a big negative impact on performance.

D’Ambrosio’s comments reinforce one of the central points in Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers.” Gladwell cites research that it takes 10,000 hours of practice of constant repetition and coaching to get good at sports, playing musical instruments and countless other endeavors.

I’m not sure why, but an increasing number of executives have been trying to avoid the serious rehearsals. They’ll say:

  • “I’ve been through training before.”
  • “I’ll read through the material tonight before tomorrow’s pitch.”
  • “I’ve done this a million times before.”

Even, when those things are true,  it’s imperative to invest the time in training, practice and rehearsal.

Here are a few suggestions to make the most of your rehearsal:

  • Place rehearsal time on the calendar. Once it’s on your schedule, it’s harder to take off.
  • If you don’t like a big crowd, rehearse in front of a smaller group.
  • Practice the toughest questions.
  • Work on both style and content.
  • Use video, even if it’s a “flip” type camera so you can watch yourself and make adjustments.
  • If you don’t like the performance or an answer, keep working at it until you get it right.

Clichés are around for a reason. This one makes sense: Perfect practice makes perfect performance.

Image credit, Cimmerian, via