Seth Godin is the author of several books about “marketing, the spread of ideas and managing both customers and employees with respect”. They are bestsellers. His blog is one of my favourites and I highly recommend it.
In this blog post from 6 September 2010, Seth raises a question that all public speakers face at one time or another. In fact, it’s a question that most public speakers will ask themselves many times over a speaking career: Am I ready?
It’s a fair question. Being prepared is one of the most important things that a speaker can do. It helps a presentation run smoothly and it shows respect for the audience.
But when does preparation become over preparation or worse, procrastination? There is no one answer, of course. Each preparation is different. But there is a line, and as speakers, we should be wary of crossing it.
Preparation will not guarantee perfection. But that’s OK. It is through our mistakes (or hitches) that we learn and improve. And when it comes to public speaking, there is always room for improvement.
Preparation is important. But there comes a point when we have to stand and deliver.
Rehearsing is for Cowards
by Seth Godin
Jackson Browne gave us that advice. He would rather have you explore.
Exploring helps you figure out what you can do the next time you present or perform or interact. Rehearsing, on the hand, means figuring out exactly what you’re going to do so you can protect against the downside, the unpredictable and the embarrassing.
I’m not dismissing study, learning, experimenting or getting great at what you do. In fact, I’m arguing in favor of this sort of hard work. No, I’m talking about the repetition of doing it before you do it, again and again. Just drilling it in so you can regurgitate later. Better, I think, as they say, “…let’s do it live.”
A well-rehearsed performance will go without a hitch. An explorer seeks the hitches, because hitches are the fissures and chasms that help us leap forward.